The PhagECOLI project undertaken by Pherecydes Pharma and the CEA receives a €2 million grant from Bpifrance

4 January 2022

The project has won the “Emerging Infectious Diseases and New Radiological, Biological and Chemical Threats” Call for Expressions of Interest

Pherecydes Pharma, a biotechnology company specializing in precision phage therapy to treat resistant and/or complicated bacterial infections, and the CEA, today announced the selection of the PhagECOLI project submitted within the framework of the ‘Emerging Infectious Diseases and New Radiological, Biological and Chemical Threats’ Call for Expressions of Interest. This project will receive a Bpifrance grant of €2 million, 50% of its estimated cost, of which Pherecydes Pharma will receive 80% and the CEA 20%.The PhagECOLI project draws on the complementary expertise and experience of Pherecydes Pharma and the CEA. The aim of this three-year project is to offer new treatments for hard-to-treat or resistant E. Coli infections thanks to precision phage therapy. To provide the best approach to the therapeutic need, Pherecydes Pharma and the CEA will develop a new generation of tools to measure the efficacy of anti-E. Coli phages on the patient’s bacterial strain. These new tools could then become the basis for a brand-new generation of phagograms for the various target bacteria. This financial support will also allow Pherecydes Pharma to accelerate the development of its anti-E. coli phages.The World Health Organization (WHO) has classified Escherichia coli within the group of bacteria presenting a critical priority in terms of searching for new treatments, given how dangerous and antibiotic-resistant it is. According to ECDC (European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control) data, resistant E. coli infections are the most frequent infections in European hospitals, with more than 163,000 cases a year.Guy-Charles Fanneau de La Horie, Chairman of the Executive Board of Pherecydes Pharma, stated: “I am delighted to be able to combine our efforts with those undertaken by the CEA in recent years in the field of the detection of phages’ activity on target bacteria. The goal of the approach jointly developed with the CEA is to put in place a brand-new generation of reliable, rapid and sensitive tools enabling optimized treatment for patients and physicians. We are also very proud to receive Bpifrance’s support for this project with our anti-E. Coli phages”. Nadège Nief, Deputy Head of the CEA’s Micro-Technologies for Biology & Healthcare division, said: “We are very pleased to be able to develop this new generation of tools with Pherecydes Pharma. Through its experience and projects, Pherecydes has today become the most-advanced European industrial player in this field, and its precision phage therapy approach fully corresponds to the research carried out by the CEA on the optical phagogram in recent years. We firmly believe that, together, we can develop fast and industrializable tools for the effective treatment of patients facing a therapeutic impasse”.