GSK and Eligo Bioscience targets skin microbiome in €185m acne deal

By Will Chu

- Last updated on GMT

GSK & Eligo Bioscience targets skin microbiome in €185m acne deal

Related tags: Eligo Bioscience, Gsk, microbiome, acne

British pharma company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) are to pair up with Eligo Bioscience in a deal potentially worth €185m ($224m) that sees the firms target the microbiome to reduce the risk of developing acne.

The agreement terms provide Eligo with an upfront payment along with R&D funding to develop EB005, the Paris-based firm’s discovery program for acne, until preclinical proof of concept.

Here, GSK could form a license and collaboration deal with Eligo to further develop EB005, where Eligo could receive up to €185m in license fees, milestone payments as well as royalties on global sales.

“We are excited to work with GSK on advancing our approach to address acne, combining our technology platform with GSK’s capabilities to bring innovation from the lab bench, through clinical development, and to patients,”​ says Xavier Duportet, Eligo’s Chief Executive Officer.  

“This early-stage partnership demonstrates the translational potential of Eligo’s technology platform.”

Eligobiotics innovation

At the heart of the deal is Eligo’s technology Eligobiotics, which enables the delivery and expression of therapeutic DNA in target bacterial populations that make up the microbiome.

This technology allows researchers to fine-tune the microbiome’s composition and function to address human disease with improved precision.

Eligobiotics essentially becomes an antimicrobial, by using a CRISPR system to genetically disable inflammation-inducing gene in otherwise healthy skin bacteria killing only those that contain this gene.

The hope is EB005 will eventually result in the creation of a topical cream that can be applied to acne’s irritated skin, penetrating the skin microbiome to deliver bacteria-killing phages to affected areas.

If proven safe and effective throughout its development under the partnership with GSK, this approach has the potential to change the paradigm of acne treatment by specifically targeting one of its root causes.

Bacteriophage science

“We are delighted to join forces with Eligo, a biotech company that is pioneering microbiome engineering by leveraging CRISPR technology to address microbiome-associated diseases,”​ adds Emmanuel Hanon, Senior Vice-President and Head of R&D for GSK Vaccines.

“This partnership builds on GSK’s strong expertise in immunology, bacteriology and product development, and Eligo’s robust bacteriophage science, to help improve acne patients’ lives.”

The deal with GSK represents Eligo’s first foray with a major pharma player and the emerging arena of precision medicines, in which CRISPR is used to modify DNA and directly address the genetic root-cause of conditions such as acne.

While acne is the first condition Eligo aims to address, the firm also have a candidate that targets a toxigenic gut bacteria.

Eligo adds that its technology could also address drug-resistant genes present in the microbiome or tackle the many challenges of pro-and antibiotic microbiome therapies.

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