REHOVOT, Israel, Oct. 23, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Biomica, an emerging biopharmaceutical company developing innovative microbiome-based therapeutics, and a subsidiary of Evogene Ltd. (NASDAQ: EVGN) (TASE: EVGN), announced today a collaboration with the Weizmann Institute of Science to develop a selective treatment against antibiotic resistant strains of Staphylococcus aureus infection, in a microbiome focused approach. This approach aims to target a specific microbe while maintaining the microbiome of the patients’ gut. The company has in-licensed Prof. Ada Yonath’s, Nobel Prize laureate, work and discoveries in high-resolution crystal structure of the large ribosomal subunit of the pathogenic Staphylococcus aureus. The crystal structure originates from pathogenic species, allowing a high degree of specificity, and together with Biomica’s unique computational technology, will enable the design and development of new types of selective, narrow spectrum antibiotics agents. Prof. Yonath’s group will scientifically support Biomica in the development of the technology.
One of the most common Staphylococcus aureus infections is caused by MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), often referred to as a superbug. MRSA is a multi-drug resistant bacterium, responsible for several difficult-to-treat infections in humans, leading to tens of thousands of annual cases of mortality in the US. MRSA is the leading causative agent for hospital acquired infections and has recently been documented as community-acquired as well as livestock-acquired. Current medical treatments include broad spectrum antibiotics that are becoming increasingly ineffective. The current MRSA market was valued at approximately US$ 2.9 Bn in 2016 is projected to reach over US$ 3.9 Bn by 2025.
Biomica aims to use the in-licensed IP and know-how to design specific molecules that selectively target and inhibit the large ribosomal subunit of the pathogenic Staphylococcus aureus. Biomica utilizes a unique computational approach, licensed from Evogene (the CPB platform), for a virtual screening process that enables the identification and design of small molecular agents with selective activity towards specific microbial target proteins. While current broad-spectrum antibiotics treatments harm the patient’s commensal intestinal microbial community, Biomica’s highly selective approach aims to target and eliminate only the pathogen and maintain the integrity of the patients’ gut microbiome.
Gill Granot-Mayer, the CEO of Yeda R&D Co., LTD, the Technology Transfer arm of the Weizmann Institute of Science stated: “Our agreement with Biomica is an opportunity to put Prof. Yonath’s great scientific achievements into practice, to resolve a substantial, unmet clinical need, by developing a highly selective solution to the resistance of Staphylococcus aureus.”
Prof. Ada E. Yonath, Weizmann Institute of Science, stated: “Our findings, resulting from the high resolution structures of the ribosome from the human pathogen Staphylococcus aureus and of its complexes with various clinically useful drugs, should facilitate the design of unique structure-based new specific drugs against this human pathogen. We believe that the collaboration with Biomica, which is interested in fighting the current global antibiotics resistance, may result in a positive outcome for this acute problem for human health.”
Dr. Elran Haber, Biomica CEO, stated: “We are excited by this collaboration between Biomica and a world leading research institute – The Weizmann Institute of Science. We believe that our unique computational capabilities fit perfectly with Nobel Prize winner, Prof. Yonath’s discovery of MRSA potential targets. Biomica has the technology that will potentially enable the identification of specific molecules that could selectively bind to these novel microbial targets, while leaving other beneficial microbes unharmed. We look forward to our joint work, and believe it holds great potential.”
Biomica is an emerging biopharmaceutical company developing innovative microbiome-based therapeutics utilizing a dedicated Computational Predictive Biology platform (CPB). Biomica aims to identify and characterize disease-related microbiome entities, and to develop novel therapeutics based on these understandings. The company is focused on the development of therapies for antibiotic resistant bacteria, immuno-oncology, and microbiome-related gastrointestinal (GI) disorders.
Biomica is a subsidiary of Evogene Ltd. (NASDAQ: EVGN) (TASE: EVGN). For more information, please visit www.biomicamed.com.
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