University of Warwick spin out company, Novolytics and partner, Cobra Biologics, have announced a step forward in the battle against antibiotic resistant infections with a new, high-yield method of producing phages – microorganisms that can kill bacteria.
Infections that are resistant to antibiotic drugs are becoming increasingly common because of the ability of bacteria to mutate and adapt, and the lack of new antibiotics being developed successfully by the pharmaceutical industry.
Novolytics was set up in 2002 to exploit the therapeutic potential of phages. These naturally occurring microorganisms can infect and kill bacteria and have been shown to be effective against antibiotic-resistant infections, such as the so-called superbug MRSA.
Phages have been successfully exploited in other countries, including the former Soviet Union and, in a more limited way, in Poland, where they are used for patients who have not responded to conventional antibiotic treatment. However they have not yet been tested in full clinical trials to the standards required by Western medicine.
In partnership with Cobra Biologics, Novolytics has now developed a process that will increase the yield for its promising phage product that will target MRSA. This will allow the company to move forward towards producing material that not only conforms to Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP)standards but also in commercially viable volumes. GMP compliance is the required standard for clinical trials carried out in the UK .
John Hardcastle, CEO of Novolytics, said: “Cobra is helping Novolytics to produce bacteriophage cocktails that remain therapeutically active when produced to GMP standard and on an industrial scale. This is a critical factor for successful exploitation of the exciting potential that phage therapy offers.”
Cobra will be presenting its expertise in this area at the forthcoming Phages 2013 conference in Oxford in September 2013.