Eligo Bioscience SA (Eligo) today announced that it has entered into a research and option agreement with GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE: GSK) aimed at advancing Eligobiotics® for the treatment or prevention of acne vulgaris with a pioneering CRISPR-based therapeutic for strain-specific microbiome modulation.
Under the terms of the agreement, Eligo will receive an upfront payment and R&D funding to advance EB005, its discovery program in acne, until preclinical proof of concept. If GSK exercises its option, GSK and Eligo will enter into a license and collaboration agreement to jointly continue the development of EB005 in acne. Eligo would be eligible to receive up to a total of $224 million in license fees and potential milestone payments, as well as royalties on global sales.
The EB005 program is applying Eligo’s Eligobiotics® technology to precisely modify the composition of the skin’s microbiome to treat or reduce the risk of developing moderate to severe acne. Acne is a chronic inflammatory disorder, affecting 85 percent of adolescents and young adults around the world and carrying a significant impact on physical and mental health globally. Eligo is leveraging recent insights in acne showing that otherwise beneficial skin bacteria, when expressing pro-inflammatory molecules, trigger the immune system and drive inflammation. EB005 aims to develop Eligobiotics® for topical application to precisely and selectively remove these pro-inflammatory bacterial strains from the microbiome, while sparing the rest of the skin microbiome.
Eligobiotics® is a first-in-class versatile proprietary modality that uses phage-derived particles to deliver an RNA-guided CRISPR-Cas nuclease into bacterial populations of the microbiome. Inside the bacteria, the nuclease will be guided towards specific genomic sequences, and create targeted lethal DNA double strand-breaks only if such sequences are present in the bacterial genome. This strategy enables a precise engineering of the microbiome, by killing only the strains harboring genomic sequences targeted by the nuclease.
If proven safe and effective throughout its development under the partnership with GSK, this unique approach has the potential to change the paradigm of acne treatment by specifically targeting one of its root causes.
“We are excited to work with GSK on advancing our radically new approach to address acne, combining our unique technology platform with GSK’s scientific excellence and capabilities to bring innovation from the lab bench, through clinical development, and to patients. This early-stage partnership demonstrates the translational potential of Eligo’s technology platform,”
said Xavier Duportet, PhD, Chief Executive Officer, Eligo Bioscience.
Emmanuel Hanon, Senior Vice-President and Head of R&D for GSK Vaccines, commented:
“We are delighted to join forces with Eligo, a biotech company that is pioneering microbiome engineering by leveraging CRISPR technology to address microbiome-associated diseases. This partnership builds on GSK’s strong expertise in immunology, bacteriology and product development, and Eligo’s robust bacteriophage science, to help improve acne patients’ lives.”
Eligobiotics® is a versatile modality based on the delivery of a DNA payload, using phage-derived particles, into bacterial populations of the microbiome to modulate its composition or function with unrivaled precision.
Eligobiotics® can be designed, built and optimized for microbiome species of choice with the automated proprietary platform that leverages Eligo’s unique expertise in synthetic biology, phage biology, CRISPR-Cas engineering and bioinformatics.
Eligobiotics® can be used to precisely and selectively remove unwanted bacterial strains carrying deleterious genes while leaving beneficial bacterial strains intact through the targeted delivery of a payload encoding an RNA-guided CRISPR-Cas nuclease. Alternatively, Eligobiotics® can deliver to target bacteria the necessary genetic instructions to produce, display or secrete therapeutic proteins of interest in close vicinity to the host’s cells.
About Eligo Bioscience
Eligo Bioscience is the world leader in microbiome gene therapy to address microbiome-associated diseases. Eligo was founded by scientists from The Rockefeller University, where CRISPR-based antimicrobials were invented, and by scientists from MIT. Eligo was named a Technology Pioneer by the World Economic Forum in 2017. With venture capital funding from Khosla Ventures and Seventure Partners, and non-dilutive funding from the European Commission, CARB-X, and Bpifrance, Eligo is rapidly advancing its lead program into clinical development, with the first clinical trials on track to begin in 2021.
Through its novel technology platform and robust intellectual property positions, Eligo is poised to be a catalyst for the growth anticipated across the microbiome-associated diseases industry. For more information about Eligo visit https://www.eligo.bio/. Follow us at https://www.twitter.com/EligoBio and https://www.linkedin.com/company/eligo-bioscience/.