Appili Therapeutics has received an additional $6.6m from the US Air Force Academy (USAFA) to develop the biodefence vaccine candidate ATI-1701.

ATI-1701 is intended to prevent infection caused by Francisella tularensis.

Due to its increased infectiousness, the US National Institutes of Health has categorised Francisella tularensis as a Category A pathogen.

The latest development takes the financial commitments by USAFA for ATI-1701 development to a total of $14m.

In May 2023, the company received $7.3m as part of initial funding for early-stage development and regulatory work on the vaccine candidate. 

These activities comprise non-clinical studies, manufacturing and regulatory work for the submission of an investigational new drug (IND) application to the Food and Drug Administration in 2024. 

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Appili will receive reimbursement for subcontractor and vendor expenditures linked to technical activities.

Appili Therapeutics president and CEO Don Cilla stated: “Being awarded this additional funding commitment from USAFA, in partnership with DTRA, further strengthens Appili’s foundation in biodefence and enables us to scale up our efforts to develop an urgently needed vaccine for this serious bioterrorism threat. 

“This level of funding commitment should further support nonclinical, manufacturing and regulatory activities for ATI-1701, and should enable us to continue to advance this programme towards an IND.”

In May 2023, the company obtained a US patent for ATI-1501, a liquid oral reformulation of metronidazole.