SNIPR Biome, a Danish biotech combining CRISPR gene editing and microbiome-based technology, has achieved good initial results in a Phase I trial of its therapy to target Escherichia coli infections in vulnerable cancer patients.
Currently known as SNIPR001, the therapy being tested combines four CRISPR-armed bacteriophages that selectively target and destroy E. coli resistant to the antibiotic fluoroquinolone in patients with hematologic cancer. If proven effective, SNIPR001 has the potential to be a better treatment than fluoroquinolone as it only destroys the pathogenic E. coli bacteria and not the rest of the gut microbiome.
SNIPR Biome was founded in 2017 with seed investment from the Lundbeck Foundation. Since then, it achieved a respectable Series A round of $45.9M (€43M) in 2019.
It has ongoing partnerships with MD Anderson’s Program for Innovative Microbiome and Translational Research, the non-profit organisation Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria Biopharmaceutical Accelerator (CARB-X), to support the future development of a novel-targeted approach against E. coli infections, and with Novo Nordisk to assess SNIPR Biome’s technology for in situ production of therapeutics in the human microbiome.
SNIPR001 was granted a Fast Track Designation by the United State Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in January last year, shortly after the FDA accepted the company’s Investigational New Drug Application.
The Phase I study began last year in 36 healthy volunteers who received three different dose levels of SNIPR001 (24 received treatment and 12 placebo). The interim results of the study, reported today by the company, show that the treatment was well tolerated with only mild-moderate side effects and no participants withdrawing from the trial.
The researchers report that SNIPR001 appeared to be excreted in the feces in a dose-dependent manner and was able to reduce amounts of E. coli in the gut of study participants.
“We are thrilled with these positive interim results from our Phase I clinical trial of SNIPR001, which provide clinical validation for this innovative treatment,” said Christian Grøndahl, CEO and co-founder of SNIPR Biome, in a press statement.
“With the combined killing effects of bacteriophages and CRISPR-Cas technology, SNIPR001 has demonstrated the ability to target and eliminate antibiotic-resistant E. coli strains in the gut, providing a safe alternative to traditional treatments that do not work against antibiotic-resistant strains, while sparing the rest of the gut microbiome.”
In addition to targeting antimicrobial resistance, the company is also developing treatments for other cancer patients, cardiovascular or metabolic disease patients and inflammatory bowel disease patients.