New Anti-Bacterial Treatment using Bacteriophages

Hazan Ronen, HUJI, Faculty of Dental Medicine, Institute of Dental Sciences
Beyth Nurit

Phage therapy against antibiotic resistant bacteria Enterococcus faecalis VRE and Enterococcus faecium



Phage therapy, antibiotic resistant bacteria, E. faecalis VRE

Development Stage

Proof of concept

Patent Status

Provisional application no.: 62/092,932


Pharmaceutics and dental health Companies



  • There is an urgent need for complement and alternative antibiotics due to the alarming emergence of resistant bacteria
  • Phage therapy is one of the most promising non-antibiotic solutions for bacterial resistance, as recently recognized by NIH, FDA, EMA and others
  • Targeted to treat Patients with antibiotic untreatable infections of E. faecalis (e.g. bacteraemia, urinary tract infection, endocarditism, root canal treatment failures, etc.), especially hospital-associated infections of compromised patients, which lead to substantial morbidity and mortality
  • The medical importance of the enterococci increases with the emergence of antibiotic resistant bacteria. Among these bacteria, Vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) are one of the most difficult organisms to treat in hospitals
  • We have a phage cocktail that eliminates one of the most disturbing resistant pathogen – E. faecalis VRE involved in many local and systemic life threatening untreatable infections
  • We have shown proof of concept in vitro and ex-vivo of the invention

Our Innovation

  • Bacteriophages are potent antimicrobial means being re-discovered with yet few players in the market. These naturally obtainable “bacterial killers” have the potential to specifically combat recalcitrant and antibiotic resistant E. faecalis infections without affecting host cells
  • We have isolated, characterized and sequenced 2 lytic phages that attack E. faecalis, VRE faecalis and Enterococcus faecium that can be used as highly efficient supportive antibacterial therapy, specifically in cases where antibiotic treatment fails. Moreover, in a cocktail these 2 phages present additive effect


Key Features

  • Strong bactericidal effect against logarithmic and stationary bacteria
  • Efficient biofilm killing, one of the most challenging goals of anti-bacterial treatments as it is almost untreatable with the current antibiotics
  • "One shot" treatment, i.e. the phages concentration correlate with the bacteria, the more bacteria there are, the more phage will evolve and vice-verse. Moreover, the phages will disappear when their target, the bacteria, disappear. 
  • According to their genome sequence, our phages do not harbour apparent harmful genes.
  • In case of emergence of resistant bacteria it is relatively easy to isolate new phages or select in a co-evolution manner phages that would kill the resistant bacteria.
  • It is possible to genetically engineer improved phages.
  • So far there are no reports of side effect of phages on human beings.

The Opportunity

  • Currently, E. faecalis, mainly VRE strains: are responsible for:  
  • 30% of nosocomial infections
  • 3000 cases of endocarditis (5-20%) in the US
  • 500,000 cases/year are E. faecalis UTI

  • In root canals infections  E. faecalis is responsible for 40% in primary infections, 15 million cases/year in the USA only, constituting a 15 billion $ Market
  • Moreover, it is likely that such phage-based cocktails may be further utilized to prevent bacterial-associated infections in other industrial fields, e.g., water delivery systems, food industry and much more.

Researcher information





Contact for more information:

Aviv Shoher
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