Bacteriophages are viruses that infect bacteria. They were isolated for the first time a century ago and discovered to be antibacterial agents. More recently, researchers linked a specific strain of bacteria, adherent and invasive Escherichia coli (AIEC), to Crohn’s disease1, a chronic IBD condition. To explore the possibility that bacteriophages could be used to combat AIEC in IBD patients, Ferring first collaborated with the University of Lille, University of Auvergne and DigestScience, a foundation dedicated to research on digestive diseases, to better understand AIEC. Then, together with the Institut Pasteur and Intralytix, Ferring developed a combination of bacteriophages specifically designed to target AIEC strains found in Crohn’s disease patients.
In the collaboration announced today, Intralytix will assist Ferring in formulating and manufacturing the bacteriophages for use in clinical trials, which are expected to begin as soon as 2016.
"Crohn’s disease is a painful and debilitating condition with limited treatment options," said Per Falk, Executive VP and Chief Scientific Officer at Ferring. "Our development program to bring relief to CD patients with our bacteriophage treatment directed against AIEC bacteria is ongoing."