Hemispheric University

Universidad Andrés Bello

Research Project Title

Phagotherapy against Fusobacterium nucleatum

Research Project Description

Technical summary: The technology includes a new biological therapy based on a composition of three different and specific bacteriophages, with the ability to eliminate the bacterium Fusobacterium nucleatum, which allows its use for the prevention and treatment in early stages of gingivitis and periodontitis, as well as contributing to the prevention of premature birth and colorectal cancer. It is relevant to mention that the current prevention methods for these conditions are not effective because they involve the use of chlorhexidine, which is toxic and has low penetrability in the bacterial plaque. On the other hand, at present the diagnosis of periodontitis is not precise, the treatments are expensive and complex (removal of dental plaque, surgery and implants) and involve the use of broad-spectrum antibiotics, causing damage to the normal flora. It should be noted that these bacteriophages carry out their action through the lytic cycle, that is, they infect the bacteria and use the internal machinery of these to replicate and eliminate them, which is why they currently represent an important alternative for the treatment of bacterial infections.


Potential impact of the use of the technology: The bacteriophages of this technology are highly specific, that is, they only eliminate the targeted bacteria and not the normal flora. Likewise, they only replicate within the bacteria, quickly and easily, not generating an immune reaction (immunosynthetic). Additionally, it is important to emphasize that the bacteriophages can produce exopolysaccharides, which helps to eliminate bacteria from the biofilm (dental plaque). On the other hand, this technology may reduce the risk of preterm birth and colorectal cancer, since F. nucleatum has been strongly associated with both pathologies.


Market: The global market size for periodontal disease is expected to reach USD 2.4 billion by 2020, at a CAGR2016-2020: of 6.4%, including scaling, root planning, surgery and others. Likewise, the global periodontal therapeutics market was valued at USD 259.5 million in 2016, and is expected to reach USD 580.5 million by 2025, expanding at a CAGR of 9.2% from 2017 to 20256. This segment is composed of adjuvant therapies such as local action antimicrobials, systemic antibiotics and host modeling. The segment of systemic antibiotics maintains a clear dominance, concentrating more than 95% of the market share in 2016.


North America is expected to account for the largest share of the periodontal therapeutics market (43%), followed by Europe (29%) and Asia-Pacific (19%) and the rest of world (9%). The periodontal therapeutics market currently possesses only few companies having their products marketed. The companies have untapped opportunities in the developing regions of Asia Pacific and Latin America. The companies include 3M, Valeant Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Kaken Pharmaceuticals Co. Ltd., Den-Mat Holdings, LLC, Dexcel Pharma and Galderma S.A. It should be noted that there are currently no biological therapies for periodontal disease in the market. In this way, the market for this technology is estimated to reach USD 1 billon four years after its launch, including dental treatments and mouthwash.


On the other hand, Colorectal Cancer Therapeutics Market is expected to reach USD 9.4 billion by 2020 in 8 Major Countries (US, Canada, the UK, France, Germany, Spain, Italy and Japan). The CRC therapeutics market in the eight major markets is expected to grow at CAGR of 1.8% by 2020. The US had the largest market share in 2013, equivalent to a global share of 44.1%, followed by Japan and Germany with 14.7% and 11.9% respectively.


Finally, the U.S. Neonatal (Preterm) Infant Care Market was estimated at USD 14.8 billion in 2015. It should be noted that preterm births form a serious pediatric health problem in the U.S., forming one of the leading causes of infant mortality in the country. Preterm births account for nearly 13% of all the births and 17% of all the infant deaths occurring in the nation and this phenomenon costs the country more than $25 billion annually.


Development status: TRL 4: Non GLP Preclinical Studies.

Research Project Academic Contact

Mauricio Bittner, Biochemistry Director