PHAGOGramme, a large-scale approach of precision phagotherapy
Facing the unpredictable efficacy of current methods of anti-infective treatment, phagotherapy represents a growing hope in the combat against antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
In this context, Pherecydes Pharma introduced in 2016 the concept of precision phagotherapy.
The benefits of a precision phagotherapy
Pherecydes Pharma provides "tailor-made" therapeutic bacteriophages, that is to say bacteriophages that are specifically chosen against the infection to be treated. This ensures maximum efficacy of treatment while respecting the patient's microbiota.
This approach is validated, from a regulatory point of view, by the National Agency for the Safety of Medicines. It is encouraged by the promising results of various targeted compassionate treatments performed by some hospitals in collaboration with Pherecydes Pharma.
However, this precision medicine requires, prior to treatment, a diagnosis called "companion diagnosis".
The limits of the preliminary diagnosis
As with antibiograms for antibiotics, Pherecydes Pharma has developed a technique that tests the susceptibility of a patient's bacterial strain to several types of phages: the phagogram.
Yet, this manual technique comes up against some constraints, limiting its large scale application. The next step is to develop a process automation device to meet the following objectives:
- reliability and reproductibility;
- sensitivity and speed (6h against 24h currently);
- scalability (+100 tests can be performed daily);
- economies of scale.
Towards an automated phagogram
Thanks to an active collaboration with a French company designing a robot for culture and microbiological analysis, the PHAGOGramme process currently entered its development phase in the R & D laboratory of Pherecydes Pharma.
In order to validate this automation process, an on-site experiment phase is already planned with the microbiology laboratory of a hospital site.
A final stage of CE marking (labeling) will then be necessary to allow the subsequent exploitation of the device.
Pherecydes Pharma will then become the first supplier of phagograms, but will not be able to meet alone the demand, given the high expectations of targeted phagotherapy.
The ultimate goal is for precision phagotherapy to become easily accessible to anyone thanks to a large-scale deployment of this solution to other closer-to-patients actors(private analysis laboratories, hospitals, etc.).
The PHAGOGramme project is financed by bpifrance, as part of the Programme d’Investissement d’Avenir (PIA). It is part of government strategies to fight against antimicrobial resistance.