EBX-001, which consists of two bacteria-fighting compounds, eliminates persistent drug-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa in cystic fibrosis patients better than the antibiotic component of the therapy alone, a study reports.
The treatment candidate’s developer, EnBiotix, published the results in Antimicrobial Agents & Chemotherapy, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology. The article was titled “An Anti-Persister Strategy for the Treatment of Chronic Pseudomonas aeruginosa Infections.”
Antibiotics can prompt bacteria to enter into a persistent, or quasi-dormant, stage where they resist or are unresponsive to treatment.
EBX-001 is an inhaled combination of the antibiotic tobramycin and the metabolite potentiator fumarate. A potentiator is a compound that increases the effectiveness of another compound.
The therapy reduces recurring P. aeruginosa infections by killing P. aeruginosa persisters, researchers said.
EnBiotix developed EBX-001 in collaboration with Dr. Sam Moskowitz’s laboratory at Massachusetts General Hospital, a leading CF research group.
The company’s “anti-persister platform combines current standard-of-care therapeutics with potentiator molecules to significantly enhance the eradication of persistent drug-tolerant [drug-resistant] bacteria,” Diane Joseph-McCarthy, vice president of translational science at EnBiotix, said in a press release.
“The publication describes translational work related to our lead program, EBX-001, on the combination of tobramycin with an anti-bacterial potentiator for the treatment of chronic, recurrent Pseudomonas infections,” she added. “We look forward to further development of this program.”
EBX-001 was six times better than tobramycin alone at eliminating P. aeruginosa persisters in mucus and other materials taken from CF patients.
It also wiped out both mucoid and non-mucoid strains of the bacteria. Mucoid strains form biofilms that protect bacteria from immune system defenses and antibiotics. Scientists link them to significant increases in patients’ disease severity and death.
The fumarate that is in EBX-001 reduced tobramycin-treated P. aeruginosa’s ability to attack cells that line airways, researchers added.
Their findings suggested that EBX-001 could eliminate recurrent P. aeruginosa infections in CF patients.
“It is deeply motivating for us at EnBiotix to realize we could offer a substantial therapeutic option to address cystic fibrosis and other serious antibiotic-tolerant infections with this therapy,” said Dr. Jeffrey D. Wager, the company’s chairman and chief executive officer. “The results reported in the AAC publication present significant promise for further development of anti-persister treatments, and we are excited to do so with EBX-001.”