Micreos receives €30m finance boost to accelerate skin microbiome venture

By Will Chu

- Last updated on GMT

Micreos CEO Mark Offerhaus. ©Micreos
Micreos CEO Mark Offerhaus. ©Micreos
Dutch biotech firm Micreos announces a €30m funding boost to develop its endolysin technology, an antibiotic alternative that rebalances the skin microbiome to tackle inflammatory skin conditions.

The investment aims to finance a clinical development program of its endolysin XZ.700 that targets Staphylococcus aureus​ now established as a major trigger for flares in eczema.

Atopic Dermatitis is among those conditions also targeted by XZ.700 with a combined Phase I/II trial scheduled to commence in 2020.

“This funding from existing and new investors will advance the adoption of our endolysin technology and help us reach the millions who stand to benefit,”​ said Micreos CEO Mark Offerhaus 

“We are exploring partnerships to further accelerate the commercialization of our technology."

Micreos, which operates its Endolysin Technology & Production Centre in Bilthoven and its Phage Technology & Production Centre in Wageningen are one of a number of firms working with endolysins as a way of addressing any discrepancies on the skin microbiome.

Endolysin’s advantages include its ability to target only unwanted bacteria while preserving the microbiome as well as its ability to kill antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria.

According to Micreos, the process serves as an alternative to antibiotic use and the threat of increasing resistance, which they believe is not expected with endolysins.

“Its threat is one of the world's biggest health threats,”​ Micreos stated. “The call for true alternatives is more pressing than ever. Antibiotics do not distinguish between bad and good bacteria, and their use induces resistance.

Dutch government aid

The investment, which includes a non-dilutive €5.4 million Innovation Credit granted by the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, is also funding Micreo’s launch of its Gladskin product for eczema in the US.

The firm is currently testing the product’s effectiveness on eczema, acne and rosacea as well as in orphan indications with a high unmet need, like primary immune deficiencies and Netherton disease.

“Since its introduction, Gladskin has helped over 100,000 people in Europe with eczema, acne, and rosacea, many of them reporting a life-changing impact,''​ said Skyler Stein, head of Gladskin USA.

"Gladskin is pioneering the use of endolysins to rebalance the skin microbiome and improve skin health."

Micreos’ funding boost represents activity in an emerging area that looks into how the skin microbiome’s role in various aspects of human health.

Its links to the gut microbiome are equally intriguing, with studies pointing to changes in the gut microbiome of patients with certain dermatological diseases. Further research suggests a role for  probiotics in the treatment of atopic dermatitis.

Skin-gut axis

Over the years researchers have put forward the concept of the “skin-gut axis,” which is a newly emerging avenue of investigation, albeit lacking in a large body of supportive scientific literature.

The lack of evidence has exacerbated ongoing challenges of launching products in a field that is still unfamiliar to regulators.

Despite these barriers, one firm active in this area is Belgian company S-Biomedic, which is currently working on a product designed to apply a blend of benign bacteria on the skin replacing the acne-prone species of bacteria in the microbiome.

On the cosmetic side, JooMo, recently completed its ‘first ever clinical trials into the effect of everyday cosmetics on the skin microbiome’.

Other key players looking to explore the skin microbiome in the cosmetics sector include MotherDirt (launched in the US, and now expanding into Europe​), and Gallinee, a French player which has just seen investment from Unilever Ventures​.

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