SurvivX is an early-stage biotech company developing a pharmaceutical product for the treatment of sepsis.
What is sepsis?
Sepsis, also known as septicemia or blood poisoning, is a life-threatening condition that arises when the body’s response to infection causes injury to its own tissues and organs. This initial stage of overreaction is followed by suppression of the immune system. Sepsis is caused by many organisms including bacteria, viruses and fungi. Common locations for the primary infection include the lungs, brain, urinary tract, skin, and abdominal organs. Risk factors include being very young or old, a weakened immune system from conditions such as cancer or diabetes, major trauma, and burns.
Sepsis is a syndrome induced by a dysregulated inflammatory response resulting from an interaction between the host and infectious agents, with consequent organic dysfunction. Despite the advances in therapeutic strategies, the high sepsis mortality rate is mainly caused by multiple organ failure and hypotension typically seen in later stages of sepsis.
Sepsis is one of the largest causes of admissions to the intensive care units in hospitals (11% in high income countries). The chance to die from sepsis after admission to the ICU is 30 to 40 procent in Dutch hospitals – worldwide, these figures are even higher. The pressure of sepsis on the healthcare system is strong, the disease is associated with very long hospitalizations, intensive care and remaining physical and mental consequences for survivors.
Our novel approach to radically change the outcome of sepsis
Historically, modulation of the aberrant immune response in sepsis focused on inhibition of systemic hyperinflammation, based on preclinical models in which induction of acute severe infection resulted in very high plasma levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines and other inflammatory mediators.
However, unlike the impressive benefits conveyed by anti-inflammatory molecules in pre-clinical studies, anti-inflammatory agents uniformly failed in subsequent clinical trials. As a result, despite more than three decades of research and more than 200 randomized controlled trials, we do not have a single specific treatment that consistently saves lives in sepsis patients.
More recently, there has been more attention for immune suppression in patients with sepsis, rather than hyper-inflammation, as one of driving forces behind the adverse prognosis in clinical sepsis. This has led to the concept that use of enhancers of host innate immunity (rather than anti-inflammatory agents) could be beneficial for management of patients with septic shock, particularly those with immune suppression.
We have a revolutionary new approach towards improving the outcome of sepsis by applying these novel insights. We are developing a unique immune enhancer, which we call SUR-101, and is intended as a novel immune stimulating therapeutic in sepsis patients with signs of immune suppression.