Antimicrobial resistance, a critical global public health issue
With at least 1 240 000 deaths directly attributable to antibiotic resistance worldwide in 20191, the fight against antimicrobial resistance is one of the WHO's major priorities. In the absence of an effective therapeutic solution, antimicrobial resistance could be responsible for 10 million deaths per year by 20502.
Given this alarming situation, the development of alternative treatments, such as phage therapy, has become a top priority, especially since no new class of antibiotics has been approved since 19823.
Phage therapy: a promising solution to treat resistant infections
Phage therapy, the treatment of resistant bacterial infections by phages, is emerging as a promising solution to the problem of antimicrobial resistance. Phages are natural viruses that exclusively target bacteria and are completely harmless to humans. Each phage targets a specific bacterial species to inject its DNA, reproduce itself, then destroy the bacteria and replicate this operation to the last existing bacteria.
Pherecydes’ precision phage therapy: an innovative approach to personalized healthcare
Pherecydes' innovative approach allows the screening and characterization of large quantities of phages to select only the most efficient ones on bacterial strains of interest. The most efficient phages are then isolated, characterized, tested and produced under controlled conditions.
A diversified product portfolio protected by international patents
Pherecydes Pharma has selected as priority targets for its phages three bacteria considered by the WHO as the most dangerous and in particular responsible for serious infections:
- Staphylococcus aureus, initially targeted by Pherecydes in two indications, bone and joint infections on prostheses and diabetic foot ulcers;
- Pseudomonas aeruginosa, initially in ventilation-associated pneumonia and cystic fibrosis-associated pneumonia;
- Escherichia coli, primarily in complicated urinary tract infections before other indications.
These three bacteria alone are responsible for more than two-thirds of hospital-acquired resistant infections in industrialized countries4 and represent a cost of $5 billion in Europe and the United States5.
To protect its discoveries, Pherecydes has a proactive intellectual property policy that covers phages, their variants and all associations including at least one of its phages.
Pherecydes benefits from excellent results observed in humans in the context of compassionate use
Pherecydes has successfully applied its precision phage therapy in compassionate use under the supervision of the French National Agency for the Safety of Medicines (ANSM). To date, several dozens of patients have received treatments with Pherecydes' phages in prominent French hospitals. More than 7 different indications have been treated with the anti-Staphylococcus aureus and anti-Pseudomonas aeruginosa phages, including a majority of bone and joint infections on hip or knee prostheses. The excellent results observed in patients treated in this context have been the subject of several scientific publications and/or presentations at international congresses, the most recent publication being in the scientific journal Frontiers in Medicine last November6.
A highly de-risked development strategy based on the choice of priority indications, the success of compassionate treatments and the Phagogram
Pherecydes Pharma is planning to deploy its strategy around three priorities:
- Clinical development of its phages in the most critical indications: Staphylococcus aureus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Escherichia coli.
- Availability of phages within the framework of Early Access Programs, issued by the ANSM to allow certain categories of patients in France to use drugs that have not yet received Marketing Authorizations (MA).
- Development of Phagogram 2.0, which tests the sensitivity of a patient's bacterial strain to several phages, to increase the speed, reliability, reproducibility and sensitivity of the tests performed.
1 - Global burden of bacterial antimicrobial resistance in 2019: a systematic analysis ; The Lancet, January 19, 2022
2 - Report by Jim O'Neill, 2016
3 - Carb-X https://carb-x.org/about/global-threat
4 - Opatowski M - Hospitalisations with infections related to antimicrobial-resistant bacteria from the French nationwide hospital discharge database, 2016
5 - Hôpital et ville - CDC (Centers for disease Control and Prevention) – Antibiotic Resistance Threats in the US; https://www.ecdc.europa.eu/sites/default/files/documents/surveillance-antimicrobial-resistance-Europe-2019.pdf
6 - https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmed.2020.570572/full