Changing the way we combat bacterial infections: Dutch Biotech Micreos launches first bacteria-killing enzyme for human use against MRSA
Micreos, a Dutch biotech, has developed Staphefekt(TM), a bacteria-killing enzyme, or endolysin, specific to Staphylococcus aureus, which is equally effective in killing methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) as methicillin-susceptible Staphylococcus aureus (MSSA).
Staphefekt(TM) is the first endolysin available for human use on intact skin. Endolysins are enzymes that originate from bacteriophages (phages), microorganisms that kill only bacteria. In nature, phages use bacteria to replicate, in the process destroying the bacterial cell wall with endolysins. The working mechanism of endolysins is unrelated to that of antibiotics, meaning even bacteria resistant to antibiotics are susceptible.
Staphefekt(TM) exhibits several other characteristics: rapid killing (lysis) of the target bacteria and limited likelihood of emerging resistance, as it works independent of the bacterial metabolism – which harbours the resistance mechanisms – and targets a region of the bacterial cell wall less susceptible to mutation. An additional feature is that its action is specific to S. aureus and does not affect beneficial bacteria.
Dr Bjorn Herpers, Clinical Microbiologist, said: “The results demonstrate the potential this technology has to revolutionise the way we treat certain bacterial infections. With the increasing prevalence of multidrug-resistant bacteria, new strategies for the treatment of bacterial infections are needed. As well as being less prone to resistance induction than antibiotics, endolysins destroy only their target bacterial species, leaving the beneficial bacteria alone.”
In vitro and observational in vivo studies have confirmed these characteristics. Laboratory results have shown that lysis of S. aureus by Staphefekt(TM) is specific to S. aureus, efficient, and unlikely to induce resistance.
Observational patient case series have demonstrated similar efficacy. A case series showed that after the local application of Staphefekt(TM) for one week, S. aureus was eradicated from the lesions of S.aureus-positive rosacea patients, while other commensal skin inhabitants (such as S. epidermis) remained present.
Micreos has started clinical trials for new therapeutic areas, and is looking to collaborate with clinicians internationally to establish further trials.
1) Micreos data on file
2) Herpers Bl et al. Specific lysis of methicillin susceptible and resistant Staphylococcus aureus by the endolysin Staphefekt SA.100(TM). 24th European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, 2014