Acne is a nearly universal condition that affects more than 80% of all people worldwide. This chronic skin condition is complex, but the main etiological agent is Propionibacterium acnes whose overgrowth leads to inflammation that causes pimples. Despite a clear need for innovation there hasn't been a novel acne drug in over 30 years. Current treatments inlcuding benzoyl peroxide (OTC) and antibiotics (Rx) are quite ineffective, and the most effective treatment--isotretinoin--is limited to a small set of patients due to dangerous side effects (birth defects, liver damage, suicide). A novel drug that is both safe and effective is needed.
Since our objective is to replace the acne-causing pathogen with a probiotic bacteria, we have two components. First is the Microbiome Editor, a biologic that can selectively kill only the bad bacteria that cause acne. Second, we are developing probiotic bacteria to replace the niche of the killed pathogen. This approach avoids the problems of rampant drug resistance associated with antibiotics. The presence of actively dividing probiotic bacteria will prevent relapses by not allowing any pathogens to grow back. In this way, we can recalibrate the acne microbiome to a healthy one.