It is now known that a single phage strain can generally infect only a single bacterial strain. Thus, in contrast to antibiotics which are effective against many different organisms, a purified phage strain is limited, but highly effective, against the strain of bacteria it can lyse. If bacterial resistance emerges in response to the initial phage administration, APT is able to rapidly identify a new phage that is effective against the mutated strain. This process can be continued until the bacterial infection is cured. No conventional antibiotics can be developed to deal with bacterial resistance with such rapidity.
APT’s methodology was previously not possible as it required breakthroughs in several areas including: genomics, virus purification, high-throughput automated phage-bacteria matching technology (HRQT™), and years of phage collection by the BIological Defense Research Directorate of the US Department of Defense.
PhageBank™ is a growing collection including hundreds of phage targeting six of the highest priority multi-drug resistant bacterial pathogens. Together this collection of phage provide a broad spectrum of coverage. PhageBank™ was initiated in 2010 by the Biological Defense Research Directorate (BDRD) of the U.S. Naval Medical Research Center (NMRC) and was originally proposed by APT’s co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer, Carl R. Merril, MD, CAPT USPHS (ret).
In 2016 APT entered into a license agreement and collaborative research and development agreement (CRADA) with the NMRC and acquired worldwide exclusive rights to PhageBank™.
APT’s HRQT™ provides a rapid and automated method of testing a patient’s specific bacterial colony to find the potential therapeutic effectiveness of each of hundreds of phage candidates pulled from PhageBank™. Phage that are effective at killing the patient’s specific strain of bacteria are identified. The selected phage are pulled from an inventory of pre-purified single dose vials and shipped to be administered to the patient. If, during the course of therapy, bacterial resistance emerges, APT can run the process again to find new phage and adapt the therapy. The goal is to provide the precision matched therapeutic within 24 hours after a patient’s bacterial colony sample arrives at the APT lab.