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2023 Uncategorized

FOLIUM SCIENCE USING GUIDED BIOTICS® TO REDUCE AMMONIA IN POULTRY  PRODUCTION

FOLIUM Science’s technology rebalances microbiome to increase natural competition.

Improving gut health in animal production could significantly boost wellbeing and productivity, according to Edward Fuchs, co-founder of FOLIUM Science. The company has won funding from Innovate UK to extend the application of its Guided Biotics® platform technology to tackle the bacteria responsible for excessive ammonia production in the poultry house. It is the latest in a series of initiatives from FOLIUM Science to tackle major challenges in animal production.

Ed Fuchs says that gut health is key to performance: “Research has shown that even a short exposure to high concentrations of ammonia is harmful, and this gas is produced by enzymes from bacteria residing in the guts of the animals. Our platform technology can modulate the microbiome to reduce ammonia production and improve animal health”.  

The company will be announcing a new development at the Agri-TechE REAP conference ‘Adaptation Through Innovation; Beyond the Comfort Zone’. The conference will explore strategies for creating opportunity from challenge.

Agri-TechE, a membership organisation that supports innovation in agricultural technologies, Director Dr Belinda Clarke comments: “FOLUM Science’s approach is a good example of agri-tech that addresses an unmet need and will quickly provide a return on investment.”

Ammonia in poultry houses is a major challenge. Unused nitrogen in the feed is converted to ammonia by bacteria in the gut. Many of these bacteria – Helicobacter, Staphylococcus, Klebsiella – also cause disease in poultry and humans. FOLIUM Science’s technology is able to selectively target and silence the genes involved in ammonia generation in these bacteria, weakening them so they are less able to colonise the gut and compete with beneficial bacteria in the microbiome.

Ed explains that, critically, the Guided Biotics® process is not removing the bacteria: “Our technology is making these bacteria less aggressive, restoring the balance in the microbiome, and reducing the amount of ammonia produced. The plan for the future is to support the bird’s metabolism in becoming more efficient at repurposing this nitrogen into protein.”

FOLIUM Science has already produced a feed additive that will protect young chicks against common bacterial infections such as Salmonella and E. coli. This was announced at the Agri-TechE REAP conference in 2018 and is to be launched in Brazil next year. It offers good, highly specific, and targeted antimicrobial effects, with none of the bad side effects of an antibiotic. It also has probiotic properties.

Folium Science’s Guided Biotics®, based on CRISPR-Cas technology, have received endorsement from the Brazilian National BioSafety Committee (CTNBio) as a non-GM ‘new-breeding technique’ which is supporting the commercialisation of the company’s first product.

CRISPR-Cas is a defence system that has evolved in bacteria to protect them against invading viruses. FOLIUM Science is harnessing this natural system to manage and modulate bacteria in the microbiome.

Ed is keen for the UK to adopt a similar approach to Brazil, saying it will accelerate the development of new types of solutions.

“We have demonstrated that our Guided Biotics® technology can have multiple benefits in the control of disease and improving performance in the poultry industry.  We would encourage regulators to give overarching approval for the technology platform – the process we are deploying – rather than each output needing separate approvals as it does currently, as this would enable the rapid production of the products that the industry and the environment urgently need.”

FOLIUM Science is to announce its latest project developing new applications of its CRIPSR-Cas portfolio, a rapid lateral flow test for Salmonella, at the Agri-TechE REAP conference on  8th November 2023.

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2022 Uncategorized

SNIPR Biome further strengthens CRISPR/Cas IP portfolio with patent grant

  • Patent issuance adds to SNIPR’s extensive intellectual property portfolio, comprising more than 60 granted worldwide patents, including in the USA and Europe
  • Patent covers the use of killing of bacteria at least 1000-fold in a microbiome using any CRISPR/Cas system
  • USPTO has also issued a Notice of Allowance for methods of using CRISPR lytic phage

Copenhagen, December 22 2022: SNIPR Biome ApS (“SNIPR” or “the Company”), the company pioneering CRISPR-based microbial gene therapy, announces today the grant of a new patent by the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). This patent represents a further addition to the Company’s extensive intellectual property portfolio, comprising more than 60 granted patents worldwide covering SNIPR’s technology platform, which enables editing of prokaryotes using CRISPR/Cas.

The USPTO has granted patent number US11,517,582, which covers the use of CRISPR/Cas systems to achieve selective killing of bacteria by at least 1000-fold in situations where bacteria are growing in a mixed population. This patent covers the use of any type of CRISPR/Cas.

In natural environments, such as in gut microbiomes, bacteria are found growing in mixed populations and it has been difficult to selectively target individual bacterial species with conventional broad-spectrum antibiotics. SNIPR’s CRISPR technology provides a highly selective way to target individual bacterial strains for killing which can be useful for the prevention and treatment of any indication where a specific bacterial strain is the underlying cause of a disease, such as an infection.

SNIPR has also received an allowance by the USPTO indicating that it will shortly grant a US patent broadly covering methods of using CRISPR lytic phage, by use of any CRISPR/Cas system and for any application (US 15/817,144). This expands the Company’s portfolio protecting CRISPR lytic phage. In August 2022, SNIPR was awarded patent number US11,400,110 which covers lytic phage armed with CRISPR gene editing systems. CRISPR and phage lysis of target bacteria is a potent combination for therapeutics, with potential for broad application, including the targeting of any bacteria for any medical use.

Dr Christian Grøndahl, Co-founder and CEO of SNIPR Biome, commented: “This expansion of our patent estate strengthens our already extensive intellectual property portfolio covering the use of CRISPR/Cas to edit prokaryotes. SNIPR Biome has exclusive, worldwide rights to this patent estate for medical applications, which supports our pipeline and lead program SNIPR001, a CRISPR-armed bacteriophage cocktail that targets the prevention of antibiotic-resistant E. coli infections in hematological cancer patients.  We will continue our pioneering work in this field as we advance our mission of developing CRISPR-based medicines for the benefit of patients suffering from life-threatening diseases.”

Earlier this year, the Company made its IP available for academic and non-profit research use without a written license. Parties interested in licensing SNIPR’s intellectual property should contact the Company at partnering@sniprbiome.com.

Categories
2021 Uncategorized

GUT MICROBIOLOGY AND HOW TO SUPPORT A HEALTHY MICROBIOME

FOLIUM Science’s Chief Scientific Officer Professor Martin Woodward shares his expertise on the importance of a healthy microbiome for animal health.

There is currently an increasing interest in the microbiology of the gut, why is that?

A little recognized fact is that the gut of any animal, bird or human contains more cells than the number of cells that make up the host animal itself. Furthermore, there are many different types of micro-organisms or bacteria that comprise what is described as the “gut microbiome”.

This array of micro-organisms play very important functions for the body, the most obvious of which is converting food into the nutrients needed  for the growth and maintenance of the host animal. Ever since man began rearing animals for hunting, transport, companionship or food, it was recognised that providing the best available nutrition was good for the health and welfare of the animal. In the modern era much emphasis is placed on the diet of animals, whatever their role in our lives; thus resulting in the multi-billion dollar animal nutrition industry.

Surely diets are relatively simple?

There is a wonderful old adage that says ‘you are what you eat’ which has some semblance of truth about it. It is the host genetics that determine features and physical characteristics, but growth rates and health are totally dependent upon the right nutrients in the feed. It is essential to have the major building blocks (protein and amino acids) and energy sources (carbohydrates and fats) for growth and development but just as important are the trace elements and vitamins. Think about iron for the haemoglobin of red blood cells; without the presence of iron, oxygen uptake and its transport around the body is impossible.

The discovery that limes and lemons given to sailors on meagre rations of dried biscuits and grog prevented scurvy was one of the first examples of the impact of good (or bad) nutrition on health. The  vitamin C provided, in this case by the citrus fruit is vital. The point is, it is essential to get a balanced diet that covers all bodily needs, and this is the role of the nutritionist.

OK, so the nutritionist has a very important role but what about the gut microbiome?

The number of different types of organism in the gut varies from one animal species to another and comprises anywhere from many hundreds to several thousand different species of bacteria, and this excludes the protists and viruses. The bacteria are the components of the gut that can aid nutrition and they can have many different roles  For example, they can

  • provide enzymes to breakdown complex molecules to simpler ones that can be used for energy or building
  • breakdown unwanted substances such as toxins (detoxification)
  •  produce short chain fatty acids especially butyrate that are used by the host gut cells as energy sources and thereby maintain the integrity of the gut, separating the gut contents form the body
  • produce many of the nutrients through their own metabolism that are essential for the host, the best example being the aromatic amino acids that animals cannot synthesize. This is not an exclusive list by any means but demonstrates the importance of healthy gut microbiome.

Ah yes, you mention a healthy microbiome but what happens when there are diseases especially those that can infect humans as well?

You raise a significant point. So far, we have talked about the bacterial component in terms of the positive effects they confer on the  host. The phrase good/friendly/beneficial bacteria is often used to describe them.

However, not all bacteria are beneficial and many have evolved to colonize the gut to cause disease; we describe these as pathogens. Interestingly, a well-established healthy microbiome is very good at suppressing the effects of pathogenic bacteria. This was first identified and described in the late 1960s and early 1970s and called the ‘Nurmi Effect’  after the author of the paper. A healthy gut microbiome can competitively exclude some pathogens very effectively. However, stress or the use of antibiotics  can disturb the composition of the gut microbiome and open the way for infection. The pathogens of real concern in animal farming and production are those that not only cause losses in  productivity but also those that can enter the food chain and cause diseases in humans. The culprits are Salmonella, pathovars of Escherichia coli and Campylobacter amongst many others.

This sounds complex, how does Folium Science hope to prevent these productivity problems?

Of the complex issues raised here, perhaps the simplest to deal with is the infection of an animal by a pathogen. By definition, this is definitely not wanted in the gut of the host and many mechanisms can be employed to reduce or try to eliminate them. Farmers utilize barrier methods preventing access of potential sources of infection to the animals, rigorous cleansing and disinfection, vaccination and the use of probiotics amongst currently available options. None of these methods are  fool-proof because, with the exception of vaccination, these are non-specific untargeted blanket measures. FOLIUM Science’s Guided Biotic technology precisely targets the specific pathogen of interest and only removes that single target leaving the microbiome otherwise unharmed and able to return into balance. 

However, sustaining a healthy gut microbiome still remains one of the best barriers to infection and is the driver behind much of FOLIUM Science’s work,  relating back to the principles of good nutrition and establishing a balanced microbiome. Our vision at FOLIUM Science is to develop systems that support the re-balancing of the microbiome after dysbiosis (unbalanced gut microbiome caused by disease). Here FOLIUM Science aims to develop novel metabolic interventions that, rather than knocking out a pathogen actually enhance the development of the beneficial bacteria.  

There seems to be a lot of potential here and no use of antibiotics?

Yes the potential is huge and very exciting for FOLIUM Science. And yes, you have identified that our Guided Biotic technology can be used in animal production and farming to replace antibiotics. Not only that, the technology is already being developed to remove the genes that are responsible for encoding antibiotic resistance.