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Patent Awarded for Live Bacterial Acne Treatment


(Kjerstin Michaela Haraldsen, Pixabay)

20 September 2017. A company developing treatments for disease by restoring the natural balance of bacteria on the skin received a patent for its acne therapy using spray-on live bacteria. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office awarded patent number 9,738,870 on 22 August to AOBiome LLC in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The three inventors on the patent include the two company founders, David Whitlock and Spiros Jamas, and chief medical officer Larry Weiss.

In its therapies, AOBiome seeks to reintroduce bacteria that oxidize ammonia eliminated from the skin microbiome through modern hygienic practices. Ammonia-oxidizing bacteria, says the company, convert ammonia and urea from perspiration to nitrite and nitric oxide. Nitrite helps control the growth of other microbes, including pathogens, while nitric oxide is a signaling molecule that helps regulate inflammation. The company also produces a line of skin-care products that maintain microbial balance on the skin under the brand name Mother Dirt.

Acne, known formally as acne vulgaris, is a chronic inflammatory condition that blocks hair follicles and sweat glands, primarily on the face, chest and back, affecting some 40 to 50 million people in the U.S., according to data cited by the company. AOBiome says eliminating commensal or natural bacteria from the skin also removes the nitric oxide leaving the skin as a pro-inflammatory environment.

The patent covers the technology behind AOBiome’s lead product code-named B244, a topical spray that applies ammonia-oxidizing bacteria to the skin thus restoring the natural microbial balance controlling skin inflammations such as acne. The patent covers topical applications containing live ammonia-oxidizing bacteria in a water-based medium administered as an aerosol or mist, for treating current cases of acne inflammations or as a maintenance treatment to prevent further outbreaks. The document also covers other ways of applying  the bacteria, such as in cosmetics, wipes, salves, or creams.

The company is testing B244 in an intermediate stage clinical trial with 358 adults with mild to moderate acne. In the trial, AOBiome is partnering with Science 37, a contract research company in Los Angeles that offers a remote data-gathering service known as Network Oriented Research Assistant, or Nora. The service connects clinical trial participants at their homes to Science 37, in this case to collect counts of acne lesions and other measures, with smartphones provided for the study. Previously, trial participants, or dermatology patients in general, would need to travel to doctors’ offices to evaluate progress.

As reported by Science & Enterprise in December 2016, AOBiome is also testing B244 as a treatment for hypertension. In an early-stage trial as an acne therapy, the company’s study team found a high correlation between the dose of B244 received as a facial spray and blood pressure of participants with normal blood pressure. The effect, says the company, was strong enough to reach statistically reliable levels at the highest dose. AOBiome adds that since it discovered this effect, the company engaged experts on blood pressure to verify a possible mechanism linking ammonia oxidizing bacteria on the vascular system.

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