People and animals globally benefit from reduced disease, better food and water quality, enhance humanitarian care for the developing world and for animals, and more effective, less toxic treatments for diseases we can’t prevent. EpiBiome’s mission to surveil pathogenic bacteria and to develop FDA-approved alternatives to the use of antibiotics used in both human and animal medicine means that the antibiotics that are effective today have a better chance of continuing to be effective long into the future.
EpiBiome’s goal is to develop naturally occurring bacterial viruses, known as phages, as FDA-approved alternatives to antibiotics for use in animal production. The company’s first disease target is bovine mastitis, infection of the udder tissue in dairy cows. To overcome agglomeration of bacteria in raw milk and increase response to its phage-based approach, EpiBiome has developed a proprietary potentiator. Successful treatment of mastitis using phages will leave no antibiotic residues in milk and may reduce problematic withholding times for producers.
Phage technology has many more potential applications in other species of animals, in plant agriculture and in pest control. In each step, EpiBiome is leveraging its in-house platforms – EpiPhany® and Phage-Based Technologies.
EpiBiome is targeting enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) bacteria using phages. ETEC colonizes and infects human intestines, and causes diarrhea in hundreds of millions of children in developing countries and in travelers each year. Frequent intestinal infections lead to environmental enteropathy (formerly known as “tropical enteropathy”), which contributes to chronic malnutrition and growth stunting (low height-for-age).
EpiBiome is designing innovative phage cocktails which may shift the population of highly pathogenic bacteria in an infection to a more innocuous form, decreasing the risk of severe infection. In each step, EpiBiome is leveraging its in-house platforms – EpiPhany® and Phage-Based Technologies.
EpiBiome’s goal is to develop a phage-based approach to the long-term prevention of environmental enteropathy in children in developing countries and of traveler’s diarrhea.
Municipalities can monitor the bacterial structure of their drinking water microbiome to ensure that the water we drink is clean. It is possible to sample water at different points in the treatment process and make changes to improve water quality.
The growing worldwide demand for fish and seafood such as shrimp has spurred growth in intensive aquaculture. There is little information on the overall diversity and composition of bacterial communities in intensive aquaculture systems. An in-depth analysis of these microbial communities improves our ability to understand and control the microbial quality of production systems and could reduce the risks associated with disease outbreak. EpiPhany® is especially useful for early detection and monitoring of bacterial communities in aquaculture systems. Phage-Based Technologies may be used for specific remediation of pathogenic bacteria that do not cause collateral damage to the environment.
Bioinformatics plays an increasing role in predicting and assessing both the beneficial and undesirable effects of microorganisms on food. Culture-based methods used for microbial detection and identification are simple to use, relatively inexpensive, and sensitive, but are too time-consuming for high-throughput testing, are too tedious for analysis of samples with multiple organisms and provide little clinical information about the pathogen (e.g., antibiotic resistance genes, virulence factors, or strain subtype). Bacterial profiling overcomes these limitations since it can provide more accurate information and expand the number of DNA sequences that can be analyzed simultaneously, enabling identification and characterization of multiple pathogens at the same time.
Bacteriophages may play particularly interesting roles in the treatment of skin infections from Propionibacterium acnes that cause acne and of oral health conditions including dental plaque and cavities. Research exists today demonstrating the effectiveness of phage therapy to reduce local inflammation and faster healing of acne ulcers and other suppurative skin infections. Another study highlights that phages are present in dental plaques of healthy individuals and that bacteriophages could potentially provide selective therapy against the bacteria that cause cavities and ultimately root canal infections.