Pherecydes Pharma has received €900,000 in funding from the French government’s General Directorate for Armaments (Direction Générale de l’Armement; DGA) to investigate the potential of using bacteriophages as a treatment for drug-resistant bacterial infections. The Pacoburns program, which has both military and civilian applications, will center primarily on skin infections resulting from burn wounds.
The €1.2 million Pacoburns project will be managed by Pherecydes and involve work with the Institute of Genetics and Microbiology of the University of Paris XI and the Armed Forces Institute of Biomedical Research. Pherecydes will use animal models to evaluate two different bacteriophage mixtures formulated to fight infections caused either by Escherichia coli-type bacteria or Pseudomonas aeruginosa species. Human trials are expected to start during 2013.
Through Pacoburns the firm will leverage its expertise in the isolation and purification of bacteriophages that are capable of killing drug-resistant bacterial strains. The firm will be responsible for phage bioproduction, formulation, and initial in vitro tests. Pherecydes says the project will enable it to speed development of its lead topical products through evaluation in man using both military and civilian hospitals. It then plans to extend utility of its topically administered bacteriophage cocktails to various skin pathologies as well as develop additional formulations.
“Bacteriophages are a solution of the future for problems associated with bacterial resistance, and this project should help establish phagotherapy as both an alternative and a complement to antibiotic-based treatments,” states company chairman Jérôme Gabard. Paris-based Pheredyces has assembled a bank of phage cocktails for fighting antibiotic-resistant infections, claims to own the widest collection of phages against E. coli, and is compiling collections of phages against Pseudomonas and Staphylococcus species. It is developing lytic bacteriophages for therapeutic and diagnostic applications.