Integrated BioTherapeutics: feasibility of a toxin-based Staphylococcus aureus vaccine

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Business Description:

Integrated BioTherapeutics Inc. develops vaccines and therapeutics for Staphylococcus aureus and filoviruses such as Ebola. The company’s vaccines target a wide range of Staphylococcal exotoxins, major virulence factors of S. aureus pathogenicity.

Challenge:

Staphylococcus aureus is a well-recognized cause of invasive disease and sepsis. Mortality rates related to sepsis are high, despite appropriate antibiotic therapy. Why some patients with S. aureus bacteremia develop sepsis and others do not is largely unknown. Might low levels of antibodies to S. aureus exotoxins show an association with sepsis risk among adults with bloodstream infection? And if so, might that lead to a vaccine for treating that sepsis?

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MIPS Role:

Staphylococcus aureus (SA) is a bacteria that causes both community- and hospital-acquired infections. These infections are now more difficult to treat due to development of methicillin resistance. Consequently, the number of infections due to methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) has increased. SA most commonly causes skin and soft tissue infections with a range of severity, from uncomplicated boils to life-threatening surgical site infections. SA infections are often complicated by bacteremia, the spread of the bacteria into the bloodstream. SA bacteremia can lead to sepsis, a systemic response to the infections that leads to multi-organ failure and often death. Efforts to develop a vaccine to prevent SA infections have been unsuccessful. However, no one has explored whether a vaccine against SA could reduce the severity of an SA infection. SA produces a number of exotoxins that increase the severity of infection. The primary purpose of IBT’s MIPS project was to determine the feasibility of developing a toxin-based vaccine by assessing whether pre-existing antibodies to SA toxins are associated with a lower risk of sepsis in adults with a SA infection complicated by bacteremia. Researchers also assessed whether adults with persistent SA colonization have higher antibody levels.

Results:

In this trial, it was found that SA sepsis patients did have significantly lower antibodies to SA toxins than SA patients without sepsis. This finding may lead to a vaccine treatment for SA sepsis and has enabled Integrated BioTherapuetics to create nine new jobs.

Project Manager:   M. J. Aman;  Principal InvestigatorMary-Claire Roghmann, UMB

Location:  Germantown, Maryland – Montgomery County;  Project Start Date:  8/1/2010

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