InteliSpark client Excelsior Biofilms has been awarded a grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), for their project titled “Incorporation of a biofilm dispersion autoinducer into an antimicrobial ointment for the treatment of topical wounds”. Their project will directly address critical or high priority pathogens such as Acinetobacter baumannii, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus which were recently identified by the World Health Organization (WHO) for which new antibiotics or antimicrobial treatments urgently needed.
Excelsior Biofilms will overcome this by using a biofilm dispersal signal as an adjunctive to conventional antimicrobial therapies. Their previous studies have shown that P. aeruginosa produces a quorum sensing molecule, cis-2-decenoic acids (cis-DA), that is responsible for auto-induction of the native dispersion response in biofilm bacteria. This signaling molecule has been shown to create a change in the physiologic of the bacteria, causing them to disaggregate from a biofilm and alter their physiology, rendering them to more susceptible to antibiotics. Furthermore, the cis-DA has been shown to induce biofilm dispersion in a wide range of Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria as well as fungi.
In Excelsior Biofilm’s project, they propose to determine the degree to which cis-DA can improve the anti-biofilm activity of a petroleum jelly-based ointment with embedded antimicrobials. After determining the effectiveness and the non-toxicity to human keratinocytes, they will go onto test the effect in vitro models of wounded and infected skins. Ultimately, their project will improve current treatment and prevention strategies against biofilm infections in topical wounds.