Bacteria can beat bad breath, says BLIS

Related tags Bacteria Microbiology

A New Zealand biotech firm is entering its first foreign market,
China, with a product containing a proprietary bacterial strain
said to fight off sore throats.

The firm, looking for partners in other markets, has also presented research showing that its bacteriocin-like inhibitory substances may fight bad breath and is preparing to market the product with this new application.

BLIS Technologies has isolated a strain of micro-organism called Streptococcus salivarius​ which produces an antibacterial protein named Salivaricin B. The naturally occurring substance is said to help protect against infection by Streptococcus pyogenes​, the most common cause of bacterial sore throats but also responsible for the more serious scarlet fever and rheumatic fever.

The company launched its first product containing Salivaricin B, BLIS K12 Throat Guard, on the home market in 2002. The new agreement with Asia Pacific Biotech Distributors is expected to significantly increase sales of the throat lozenges, with China's throat care market estimated to be worth more than 100 million euros.

The Asian market generally is also known for the willingness of its people to use health products to improve their personal health and well being, said BLIS Technologies chief executive Kelvin Moffatt.

The company previously said it was working to gain approval for the product on the German market. The micro-organism would however be considered a novel food in Europe resulting in a lengthy approval process.

But research presented last week suggests that there may be new applications for the bacterial substance - taking the supplement resulted in a significant improvement in breath scores in a trial of 13 sufferers of chronic bad breath.

Dr Jeremy Burton head of clinical trials for BLIS Technologies said that while there were only 13 subjects in the trial, this data would be well received internationally because investigators in this area understood the difficulty in recruiting high numbers of subjects with severe bad breath in this sensitive area.

"While there are a number of possible causes of bad breath, around 80 to 90% of cases are due to undesirable bacteria that live on the back of the tongue. These people suffer from a basic imbalance in their oral microflora that normal oral hygiene practices often have little impact on. The use of BLIS K12 Throat Guard… aims to treat the root cause of their bad breath by restoring a bacterial balance associated with healthy breath,"​ explained Moffatt.

Further double blind, placebo controlled studies are planned in conjunction with the University of Otago Dental School to build on this initial data.

"We anticipate that an initial promotional campaign for the use of BLIS K12 Throat Guard for bad breath prevention would begin in the next few months, and an announcement on the appointment of partners in key international markets is also expected in the near future,"​ Moffatt said.

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