MicroSintesis Inc., a new life sciences company focused on creating novel anti-infectives, has successfully completed its largest study to date on the efficacy of new molecules to fight against antibiotic-resistance bacteria, representing a step-change in how and when antibiotics are used.
MicroSintesis, in partnership with the University of Guelph, has been researching new probiotics since 2011. Probiotics have long been known to improve general gut health, but this research has revealed that molecules produced by the probiotic bacteria (known as bioactives) can be harnessed to target specific genes associated with attachment of pathogens to the gut.
“Our research has determined that these bioactives significantly reduce the expression of the virulence genes of multiple pathogenic bacteria,” explains Hannah McIver, CEO of MicroSintesis Inc. “Given the rising incidence of hyper-virulent and antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria, the use of these bioactives may ultimately allow antibiotic drugs to be used in more conservative ways, reducing the rate at which pathogens acquire antibiotic resistance in the future.”
Results from MicroSintesis’ recent study in post-weaning piglets demonstrate that the product can significantly reduce E. coli colonization. This is the fourth and largest study conducted by the company, and the results prove that the technology can significantly reduce the number of cases of infection; the number of cases of severe infection; and the duration during which the animals showed signs of severe infection.
Says Dr Mansel Griffiths of the University of Guelph: “What is also unique is the fact that the mechanism of action of this novel, non-antibiotic anti-infective is generic to all serovars of gut bacteria. They are broad spectrum like antibiotics, but not like vaccines. This means that a single product could be effective against a wide range of gut bacteria, including hyper-virulent strains of E. coli, Salmonella and C. difficile.”
In the trial, 144 piglets were grouped and fed either the probiotic molecules plus an E. coli challenge or E. coli alone. They were then measured for the presence of disease symptoms, as well as weight gain and the presence of bacteria in the gut.
“We are delighted with the results of this study,” continues McIver. “This technology harnesses a system that is part of the body’s natural defence mechanism, meaning that it is easily received by the animals. By reducing colonization of the bacteria, we can reduce the rate of infection, allowing us to save antibiotics for cases where they are really needed. This is particularly important as the rate of antibiotic resistance is on the rise and new antibiotic drug development has declined. ”
To advance the development of its bioactive technologies, MicroSintesis has developed strategic partnerships with a range of industry and innovation leaders. The company expects to launch its first product next year for feed animals, with products for other monogastric animals following soon after. Additional research undertaken by the company is focusing on applications for human health.