Discovering New Anti-infectives for Treating Human Disease

Casterbridge Pharmaceuticals Inc. is a specialty Biotech company focused on the development of small-molecule anti-infectives drugs directed at important human disease.

Lead Program: Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) Pre-Clinical R&D Program

Casterbridge has initiated an exciting new program to develop new drugs against the important disease-causing virus HBV.

HBV chronically infects >250 million people worldwide including ~850,000 in the USA, and it kills >850,000 annually world-wide. Therapy primarily employs nucleos(t)ide analog drugs that target the viral DNA polymerase. This usually drives HBV to near or below the clinical detection limit. However, replication is not completely suppressed and HBV titers resurge if the drugs are withdrawn, so nucleos(t)ide analog therapy is usually life-long and not curative. Additionally, the nucleo(s)tide analogs are not fully benign, and their adverse effects can be serious or life-threatening. The global hepatitis B drug market was valued at ~$3.2 billion in 2014 and is anticipated to increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 2.6% from 2015-2021.

Lead Program:  Herpes Simplex Virus Pre-Clinical R&D Program

HSV-1 persistently infects nearly 2/3 of the U.S. population.  It causes recurrent cold sores, more serious disease including potentially blinding stromal keratitis that affects 450,000 people in the U.S., and rare but often fatal encephalitis.

Nearly 1 in 5 Americans is infected with HSV-2, and the global burden of HSV-2 infection extends to more than half a billion persons.  The cost of incident HSV infections in the year 2000 was estimated to be $1.8 billion and is predicted to rise to $2.7 billion by 2015.   Furthermore, viruses resistant to current therapies have emerged among pediatric patients, those with keratitis, and immunocompromised patients.  Existing alternative therapies are few, are incompletely effective, and have high toxicity.  Thus, new drugs against HSV-1 and HSV-2 are greatly needed.  Casterbridge Pharmaceuticals Inc. is executing a pre-Clinical R&D program to discover and develop new potent anti-HSV drug candidates for Clinical Development.

New Chemical Scaffolds for Drug R&D

α-Hydroxytropolone is a metal-binding group capable of inhibiting various therapeutically significant dinuclear metalloenzymes. It is effective in this capacity due to an array of 3 contiguous oxygen atoms that are positioned such that they can engage and chelate to both metals within the active site of dinuclear metalloenzymes. One of the more promising directions for a-hydroxytropolone-based therapeutics is in the development of novel mechanism-of-action antivirals.  Casterbridge Pharmaceuticals is actively developing α‑hydroxytropolone-containing molecules with potent and selective antiviral activity for use against viruses such as hepatitis B and herpes simplex virus.

Headquarters and Laboratory

Casterbridge Pharmaceuticals Inc. is a Delaware registered C-Corp. with offices in Woburn, Massachusetts, and the M2D2 facility at UMass-Lowell, Lowell, Massachusetts.

Casterbridge Pharmaceuticals Inc. has leased chemistry laboratory space in the M2D UMass-Lowell facility, 110 Canal Street, 4th Floor, Lowell, MA 01854.