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Design and Development of Immunotolerant S. aureus Biotherapies

Award Information
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
Branch: National Institutes of Health
Contract: 1R41AI118133-01
Agency Tracking Number: R41AI118133
Amount: $185,930.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: STTR
Solicitation Topic Code: NIAID
Solicitation Number: PA14-072
Solicitation Year: 2015
Award Year: 2015
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2015-02-15
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2017-01-31
Small Business Information
Lyme, NH 03768-3814
United States
DUNS: 039181760
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 (603) 646-3007
Business Contact
Phone: (302) 760-9563
Research Institution
11 ROPE FERRY RD. #6210
HANOVER, NH 03755-1421
United States

 Nonprofit college or university

DESCRIPTION provided by applicant Antibiotic resistance complicates the majority of Staphylococcus aureus S aureus infections as a full two thirds of hospital associated S aureus infections and of those acquired in the community are now methicillin resistant MRSA MRSA causes andgt infections in the US each year and it is responsible for half of all deaths caused by drug resistant bacteria The increasing incidence of multi drug resistance in S aureus and other bacteria underscores the need for next generation antibiotics capable of combating these dangerous pathogens The majority of small molecule antibiotics inhibit genetically encoded intracellular enzymes and as a result they are subject to rapid evolution of bacterial resistance An alternative therapeutic strategy leverages recombinant enzymes such as Staphylococcus simulans lysostaphin ssLST which degrade cell wall peptidoglycan causing bacterial lysis and death Due to peptidoglycanandapos s conserved nature and complex biosynthesis such lytic enzymes have proven less susceptible to evolved resistance Unfortunately as a bacterial protein itself ssLST is known to drive a potent immune response in animals and humans This immunogenicity and associated toxicity represent critical barriers to ssLST clinical translation This project seeks to design and develop immunotolerant ssLST drug candidates We will employ cutting edge computational deimmunization algorithms and advanced biomolecular engineering and immunogenicity screening technologies to identify and silence immunogenic T cell epitopes within the ssLST sequence Importantly our innovative methods simultaneously optimize protein therapeutics for both low immunogenic potential and high level function We have previously deimmunized the ssLST catalytic domain and here we aim to develop immunotolerant ssLST cell wall binding domains so as to complete global deimmunization of the protein In Aim proprietary deimmunization algorithms will be applied to design functionally deimmunized variants of the ssLST cell wall binding domain In Aim selected cell wall binding domain variants will be fused to our existing deimmunized catalytic domains and the full length proteins will be characterized by analysis of expression yield thermostability bacterial lysis kinetics and antibacterial activity as measured by minimal inhibitory concentration Aim will assess the immunogenicity of lead candidates using ex vivo immunoassays with human peripheral blood mononuclear cells Specifically immunoreactive T cells in donor samples will be quantified following stimulation with either wild type or deimmunized ssLST The computational design expertise of Stealth Biologics LLC offers powerful synergy with the experimental capabilities of the Dartmouth research laboratories and the proposed partnership is built upon a proven year collaboration that has opened new frontiers in the field of biotherapeutic deimmunization Successfully achieving the project goals will ultimately yield potent anti staphylococcal drugs that have been optimized so as to provide safe and highly efficacious treatment of MRSA and other staph infection in humans

PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE Staphylococcus simulans lysostaphin ssLST is a highly effective anti staphylococcal biocatalyst that efficiently kills Staphylococcus aureus pathogens including methicillin resistant S aureus MRSA Unfortunately as a bacterial protein itself ssLST is known to drive a potent immune response that can result in loss of efficacy and toxicity This proposal seeks to employ advanced protein design and engineering tools in order to develop modified ssLST proteins having wild type stability and catalytic function but reduced immunogenicity These designer enzymes could be powerful therapeutics for MRSA and other drug resistant staph infections

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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