New treatment of acne based on antibacterial protein

Acne vulgaris affects more than 80 percent of people at some point in their life and frequently continues into adulthood. Recent data suggest that there are about 650 million people living with acne around the world.
This case focuses on a novel approach to fighting acne witout the hazards of antibiotic resistance development.

Market need and potential

Acne is associated with diminished quality of life, lower self-esteem and even suicide attempts. The social, psychological, and emotional impairment that can result from acne has been reported to be similar to that associated with epilepsy, asthma, diabetes, and arthritis. The problem does not go unnoticed or without remedies, but they are not sufficient or efficient enough, and the different treatments come with problems ranging from antibiotic resistance to skin irritation.

GlobalData estimates the 2012 pharmacological therapy sales for acne to a total of approximately $2.3B across the six major pharmaceutical markets: the US, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the UK. The US contributes with 91% and an estimated $2.1B in acne therapy sales in 2012.

Our solution

Although inflammatory acne has been well characterized clinically, the mechanisms by which inflammatory lesions arise are still poorly understood. Excessive growth of the human skin bacterium Propionibacterium acnes, which is normally present on the skin, has long been associated with inflammatory acne. The bacteria can form large aggregates or biofilms, which may contribute to resistance towards antimicrobial agents.

We have identified a bacterial protein that can degrade P. acnes biofilm in vitro. The properties of the protein are unique and the approach to target biofilms is novel.
Our strategy is to purify the bacterial protein and use it as an ingredient of a facial cream.

Competitive advantages

Compared to the currently available acne treatments our proposed product has the potential to:

•  Combine daily habits of applying facial cream once a day and reduce appearance of acne lesions.
•  Lower the use of antibiotics which is beneficial both for patients, health care and society at large.

Competition or alternatives

Antibiotics are effective for acne treatment, but it requires at least a 12 weeks treatment and this is associated with the risk of bacterial resistance. The prolonged treatment (12-16 weeks) negatively influences compliance and the problems recur as soon as the antibiotics treatment is withdrawn. There are also creams etc. for topical treatment, but many modalities cause local skin irritation.

Umeå Biotech Incubator (UBI)
Box 7995, SE-907 36 Umeå, Sweden
Phone: +46(0)90- 15 49 70