AvidBiotics’ Scientists Co-author Publication in Science Translational Medicine Describing A New Class of Targeted Antibacterial Agents for Clostridium difficile
South San Francisco, Calif. – September 6, 2017 – AvidBiotics announced today the publication of collaborative research conducted with the Krebs Institute at the University of Sheffield, UK and the Institute of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation at the University of Glasgow, UK. The paper entitled, “New Class of Precision Antimicrobials Redefines Role of Clostridium difficile S-layer in Virulence and Viability” appears in the current issue of the peer-reviewed journal Science Translational Medicine.
AvidBiotics’ has invented propriety antimicrobial agents, called Avidocin-CDs, which are narrow spectrum protein agents precisely targeted to kill C. difficile without damaging the important, protective bacteria in the gut. C. difficile is a critical threat to human health according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Prevention and Control. Avidocin-CDs are engineered versions of naturally occurring protein molecules produced by C. difficile in order to kill competing strains of the same species.
While the consequences of infection with C. difficile are well documented, the contributions of its various genes to its disease-causing ability, or virulence, have not been well understood. C. difficile is coated by a protective protein layer largely made up of Surface Layer Protein-A (SlpA). These recent data conclusively demonstrated that SlpA acts as the attachment site, or binding receptor, for each of the Avidocin-CDs tested. The data further showed the surprising result that the rare genetic loss of SlpA required for the bacteria to resist the Avidocin-CD completely eliminated the ability of the bacteria to cause an infection in susceptible animals. Furthermore, the production and quality of the otherwise heat-resistant, disease-spreading infectious spores were severely compromised by the loss of the S-layer. The studies demonstrate for the first time the critical importance of SlpA in C. difficile infection and spread.
“The data generated in this study are extremely encouraging,” said Dean Scholl, Ph.D., Director, Research at AvidBiotics. “These experiments demonstrate that the rare C. difficile mutants that emerge resistant to our novel agents will then not be able to cause the life-threatening disease. We look forward to completing preclinical testing and beginning clinical trials.”
“Our proprietary antimicrobials are finely tuned to their target and are unlikely to promote the spread of antibiotic resistance or damage the healthy gut ecosystem,” said David W. Martin, MD, CEO of AvidBiotics. “The versatility of this technology transcends C. difficile infections; it may have applicability to others such as those caused by Klebsiella, Acinetobacter, and Pseudomonas. The ability of AvidBiotics’ technology to specifically target bad bugs adds to the physicians’ armamentarium a unique class of agents to subtract threatening organisms from the body’s microbiota, especially the gut microbiota.”
About Clostridium difficile (C. difficile)
C. difficile is a leading cause of hospital-associated infections worldwide. In the United States alone, roughly 450,000 cases and 30,000 deaths are attributed to this pathogen each year. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), C. difficile represents an urgent threat to human health. Though not significantly resistant to frontline antibiotics, this deadly bacterium invades the body by taking advantage of a reduction in gut microbiota diversity that can result from broad-spectrum antibiotics. Once established in the gut, C. difficile proliferates, releases toxins, and can create life-threatening consequences.
About the Gut Microbiota
The intestines, or “gut,” harbor a large and diverse population of microorganisms, the microbiota. When out of balance, these microorganisms can wreak havoc causing serious acute and chronic health problems. Researchers are exploring ways to leverage the bounty of the gut’s bacteria to create entirely new types of therapies. More is being learned everyday about the critical role the gut’s microbiota plays in human health, generating an emerging scientific discipline. By manipulating the microbiota, one could potentially create treatments to enhance or block the production of microorganisms to cure or prevent diseases and maintain health.
AvidBiotics has developed two platform technologies designed to selectively destroy target cells with surgical precision, including pathogenic bacteria, viruses and cancer cells. Its new class of narrow-spectrum bacteria-killing agents, known as Avidocin™ proteins, is a potential solution to overcome two key problems with broad-spectrum antibiotics: the rampant spread of drug resistance and the unintended damage to healthy, protective bacteria that comprise the microbiota. In addition, AvidBiotics has created a convertibleCAR™ protein platform for the creation of therapeutics that activate the immune system to destroy cancer cells. For more information on AvidBiotics, please visit the company’s web site.
Avidocin™ and convertibleCAR™ are a trademarks of AvidBiotics.