Researchers Publish Manuscript on the Prevention and Emergency Response to Tularemia Outbreaks

A review of Russian and English literature suggests that Appili’s biodefense program ATI-1701 may have a role in preventing tularemia in Ukraine


HALIFAX, Nova Scotia, March 12, 2024 – Appili Therapeutics Inc. (TSX:APLI; OTCPink: APLIF) (the “Company” or “Appili”), a biopharmaceutical company focused on drug development for infectious diseases and biodefense products, today announced a publication in the journal Frontiers in Bacteriology on the prevention of tularemia. Appili’s Director of Non-Clinical Research, Dr. Carl Gelhaus, Ph.D., together with medical doctors from the United States Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences and Ukrainian researchers published a perspective manuscript “Considerations for prevention of and emergency response to tularemia outbreaks in Ukraine: vaccine involvement”.


“Appili has been developing ATI-1701, a biodefense vaccine, to protect warfighters from tularemia.” said Carl Gelhaus, Ph.D., Director of Non-Clinical Research of Appili Therapeutics. “With the help of our Ukrainian colleagues and U.S. Army physicians, we have assessed the potential risk for tularemia outbreaks in Ukraine, by reviewing the literature of previous wartime outbreaks in Eastern Europe. Many of the conditions for tularemia outbreaks now exist in Ukraine, and their warfighters need protection. We suspected that rodent populations would explode and carry tularemia into war-affected areas. Even as we were preparing the manuscript, “Mouse fever”, an infection of unknown etiology, was reported in news outlets, underscoring the urgency of making sure Ukrainians are protected from the risk of many infectious diseases, including tularemia. The acceptance and publication of this perspective article recognizes that the epidemiological, medical, military, and scientific tularemia experts should prepare to prevent and respond to tularemia outbreaks in wartime Ukraine.”


The perspective manuscript explores the current war in Ukraine and the increased risk for outbreaks of tularemia. Several wartime tularemia outbreaks have been documented, as far back as the Siege of Stalingrad in WWII. Furthermore, F. tularensis was weaponized and stockpiled as an offensive agent, and experts consider tularemia to have a high potential use in a biological weapons attack. Russia administers its own tularemia vaccine, but that vaccine is not available in Ukraine. Furthermore, the legacy Russian vaccine is unlikely to meet the rigorous FDA and EMEA standards for safety and efficacy.


ATI-1701 is the Company’s potential first-in-class vaccine candidate for the prevention of infection with F. tularensis. Since it is a highly infectious pathogen capable of causing severe illness, medical counter measures for F. tularensis are a top biodefense priority for governments around the world.


There is currently no approved vaccine for the prevention of tularemia in the United States or other major global markets, strengthening ATI-1701’s position as a potentially valuable vaccine that is urgently needed on the market.


Appili is working hard to develop our ATI-1701 vaccine that could potentially help protect the Ukrainian people living in what United Nations Secretary-General Antionio Guterres described as “an epicenter of unbearable heartache and pain”. Don Cilla, Pharm.D., M.B.A., President and Chief Executive Officer of Appili adds “At Appili, we hope that our products can alleviate that kind of human suffering”.




About ATI-1701

ATI-1701 is a novel, live-attenuated vaccine for F. tularensis, which causes tularemia, a Category A pathogen which can be aerosolized and is over 1,000 times more infectious than anthrax. Since it is a highly infectious pathogen capable of causing severe illness, medical counter measures for F. tularensis are a top biodefense priority for the United States and governments around the world. There is currently no approved vaccine for the prevention of tularemia in the United States or other major global markets.


Appili secured a US$14M funding commitment for ATI-1701 from the United States Air Force Academy (“USAFA”), who is working in partnership with the Defense Threat Reduction Agency. These funds along with other potential funding sources, are anticipated to continue to advance the ATI-1701 program toward an IND submission to the FDA in 2025.



About Appili Therapeutics

Appili Therapeutics is an infectious disease biopharmaceutical company that is purposefully built, portfolio-driven, and people-focused to fulfill its mission of solving life-threatening infections. By systematically identifying urgent infections with unmet needs, Appili’s goal is to strategically develop a pipeline of novel therapies to prevent deaths and improve lives. The Company is currently advancing a diverse range of anti-infectives, including a vaccine candidate to eliminate a serious biological weapon threat, a topical antiparasitic for the treatment of a disfiguring disease, and a novel easy to use, liquid oral formulation targeting parasitic and anaerobic infections. Led by a proven management team, Appili is at the epicenter of the global fight against infection. For more information, visit


Forward looking statements

This news release contains “forward-looking statements”, including with respect to any potential outbreak of tularemia in the Ukraine, the funding commitment from USAFA, further anticipated milestones and the timing thereof and the Company’s development plans with respect to ATI-1701. Wherever possible, words such as “may,” “would,” “could,” “should,” “will,” “anticipate,” “believe,” “plan,” “expect,” “intend,” “estimate,” “potential for” and similar expressions have been used to identify these forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements reflect the current expectations of the Company’s management for future growth, results of operations, performance and business prospects and opportunities and involve significant known and unknown risks, uncertainties and assumptions, including, without limitation, the risk that ATI-1701 may never become an approved vaccine for the prevention or treatment of tularemia, and the other risks listed in the annual information form of the Company dated June 22, 2023, and the other filings made by the Company with the Canadian securities regulatory authorities (which may be viewed at Should one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize or should assumptions underlying the forward-looking statements prove incorrect, actual results, performance or achievements may vary materially from those expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements contained in this news release. These factors should be considered carefully, and prospective investors should not place undue reliance on the forward-looking statements. The Company disclaims any intention or obligation to revise forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information, future developments or otherwise, except as required by law. 




Media Contact:

Jenna McNeil, Communications Manager

Appili Therapeutics



Investor Relations Contact:

Don Cilla, President and CEO

Appili Therapeutics