ZUG, Switzerland, April 14, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Micreos Pharmaceuticals today announces findings from a study proving the effectiveness of XZ.700, a novel antibacterial enzyme, in selectively targeting and killing the harmful Staphylococcus aureus bacterial pathogen while maintaining a healthy microbiome and preventing antimicrobial resistance (AMR). XZ.700 is the first of many innovative endolysins in the Micreos Pharmaceuticals portfolio and is critically important as the first molecule the company will bring to market. The findings were published in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy.
S. aureus is a pathogen associated with causing and aggravating a wide spectrum of conditions, ranging from mild disorders to life-threatening disease. These infections can be difficult to treat because S. aureus can hide in niches within the body, and it readily develops resistance to antibiotics. To date, there is no pharmaceutical treatment available that specifically targets S. aureus, thereby relieving symptoms while keeping the healthy skin microbiota intact.
XZ.700 is a novel antibacterial enzyme which effectively kills S. aureus without harming closely related and beneficial organisms, such as Staphylococcus epidermidis, which is part of the normal human skin microflora. Researchers from Micreos and ETH Zurich designed XZ.700 by combining elements from a bacteriophage endolysin and a S. aureus-specific bacteriocin, both agents that naturally target bacteria. They found that XZ.700 selectively removes S. aureus from a simplified skin microbiome and is effective against S. aureus on reconstituted human skin and in a mouse model of a S. aureus-induced skin infection. Importantly, no resistance emerged in S. aureus when it was repeatedly exposed to XZ.700 – a critical feature amidst the soaring AMR crisis.
“I am proud to see how developments at Micreos that are based on fundamental research conducted in our lab at ETH are now progressing into medical applications to help patients with inflammatory skin conditions,” said Professor Martin Loessner of ETH Zurich, a leading researcher and co-author of the paper.
“XZ.700 forms one of the main building blocks of our endolysin portfolio and is the starting point for many more molecules to come,” said PhD Dr. Mathias Schmelcher, Chief Scientific Officer at Micreos Pharmaceuticals, and co-author of the research. “With our technology, we have the possibility to selectively target the pathogen S. aureus while preserving a healthy skin microbiome. This could revolutionise the way we treat inflammatory skin disorders with an infectious component in the future.”
AMR is an issue of growing global importance which results in 750,000 deaths per year. It occurs when pathogens adapt so much so that the drugs used to treat infections become less effective. If not addressed, the spread of antibiotic-resistant pathogens could continue to rise, leading to highly dangerous superbugs. The number of annual global deaths from AMR is projected to increase to 10 million by 2050 unless alternatives to antibiotics are developed – which is more people than die globally of cancer today. Micreos Pharmaceuticals intends to play a very significant role in addressing AMR and the great unmet medical need for a safe alternative to antibiotics.
About Micreos Pharmaceuticals
Micreos Pharmaceuticals develops new biological therapies based on the targeted killing of unwanted bacteria, which has potential in a broad range of applications. The company is viewed as a global leader in this field. Its proprietary endolysin technology has been created together with the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, ETH in Zurich.
Micreos Pharmaceuticals is located in Zug, Switzerland and has a drug discovery / technology research centre in Zurich, Switzerland with a drug development and clinical operation in Bilthoven in the Netherlands.