Phage Futures Europe 2019

Welcome to our Live Blog of Phage Futures Europe! Keep an eye on this page throughout the event for quotes, updates, highlighted tweets, the agenda, and more!

Venue address:
Pullman Brussels Centre Midi
Place Victor Horta 1, 1060 Brussels, Belgium

Live Blog

Good morning, phage fans!

We’re really excited for this year’s Phage Futures Europe! Among other talks, we’re especially interested to hear from EU regulatory authorities (such as the EMA and Belgium’s health authority, which approved the “magistral phage” framework last year). What do phage developers need to keep in mind as they advance toward clinical trials, what key research findings would make a difference to regulators, how does the magistral framework change things for the rest of Europe, and are regulations surrounding phages predicted to change?

Get your tweets featured here!

We’ll be posting tweets here too! Use hashtag #PhageFutures and we may feature your tweet!

Hi everyone, I’m Fran, a PhD student at University of Leicester in Martha Clokie’s lab, studying phages for lactic acid bacteria. I’m excited to help cover the conference this week, and am looking forward to hearing more about phage therapy from different perspectives! See you all there!

Hi everyone,

I’m Aël, an MD-PhD student at the Forschungszentrum Jülich (Germany) working with Julia Frunzke. I study there phage-encoded silencer proteins in phages infecting Actinobacteria.

I’m excited to help cover the conference this week, and am especially excited to learn more about how phage therapy can move from occasional case reports to becoming a more widely available therapeutic option!

See you all there!

Phage Futures Europe: Day One
8:00 am, Sep 25, 2019
Session
Plenary Session: Treating the Unmet Need
Event
8:00 am, Sep 25, 2019
Registration Opens
Remarks
9:00 am, Sep 25, 2019
Opening remarks
Panel
9:10 am, Sep 25, 2019
Treating patients with phage therapy in Europe: Physicians’ insights into implementing and administering safe phage treatments in hospitals
Dr Ard Strujis, Director, Erasmus University Medical Center
Dr Ran Nir-Paz, Associate Professor of Medicine, Hadassah Medical Center
Christine Rohde, Curator Bacteriophages, DSMZ
  • Hear about current and past phage therapy programmes implemented in hospitals.
  • Gain a physician’s perspective on delivering phage therapy as treatment for infectious diseases.
Keynote
9:55 am, Sep 25, 2019
Infection suitability: discussing the importance of understanding bacterial targets for phage therapy, learning from previous clinical trial attempts
Dr Harald Bruessow, Phage Expert, KU Leuven, Group of Gene Technology

The importance of a defined bacterial pathogen with respect to:

  • An established association with the targeted infection.
  • An exclusion of polymicrobial infections.
  • Bacterial target concentration above phage infection threshold.
  • In situ accessibility (and coverage) of pathogen by applied phage preparation.
Event
10:25 am, Sep 25, 2019
Networking Break
Speaker
11:00 am, Sep 25, 2019
Intravenous phage therapy administration: first clinical IV GMP-phage application in severe Staphylococcus aureus infection, dosing protocol and clinical trial set up
Dr Aleksandra Petrovic Fabijan, Phage Biologist, The Westmead Institute for Medical Research
  • Adjunctive bacteriophage therapy (AB-SA01) is safe and well tolerated when administered via intravenous injection in critically ill patients with severe staphylococcal infection.
  • Development of bacteriophage resistance was not observed in any case, during or after infection.
  • Decrease in staphylococcal DNA load during BT is reflected in improvement of objective clinical criteria.
  • Bacteriophage titer rapidly decreased in the blood soon after intravenous administration.
  • Clinical inflammatory markers (WBC, temperature, and C-reactive protein levels) declined after bacteriophage administration and inflammatory gene signatures in whole blood transcriptomes of most patients significantly within 72 hours of commencing bacteriophage therapy.
Session
Session 1: Preclinical and Clinical Study of Acute and Chronic Diseases
Speaker
11:30 am, Sep 25, 2019
Treatment of acne and inflammatory bowel disease with phage products: preclinical and design advancements
Naomi Zak, Co-founder and Scientific Advisor, BiomX
  • Explore how to enter the clinic with a novel phage therapy for acne.
  • Discuss novel bacterial targets driving disease in IBD and liver disease.
  • Address challenges in designing a phage cocktail for IBD.
Speaker
12:00 pm, Sep 25, 2019
Biofilm related bacterial infections: phage fixed cocktails and endolysins
Dr Lorenzo Corsini, CEO/R&D Director, PhagoMed
  • Novel endolysins to treat vaginal microbiome infections.
  • S. aureus fixed phage cocktail for the treatment of implant related infections.
  • E. coli fixed cocktail for the treatment of urinary tract infections.
Event
12:30 pm, Sep 25, 2019
Networking Lunch
Speaker
1:50 pm, Sep 25, 2019
Evaluation of the efficacy of phage therapy in a model of infective endocarditis
Prof Gregory Resch, Department of Fundamental Microbiology, University of Lausanne

Despite therapeutic advancements, the mortality rate of bacterial infective endocarditis remains high. Therefore, the development of new strategies to treat this disease is a priority.

  • Discover how phage therapy may represent such an innovative approach for bacterial infective endocarditis.
  • Discuss results obtained with specific phage cocktails targeting P. aeruginosa or S. aureus in a rat model of experimental infective endocarditis.
Speaker
2:20 pm, Sep 25, 2019
Clinical design for phage treatment of ulcer infections: preclinical results
Dr. Sofia Corte-Real, Scientific Consultant, Technophage
  • Learn about TP_102, a bacteriophage cocktail comprised of five bacteriophages, targeting multi species bacteria combined in a final single bacteriophage cocktail.
  • Discuss the clinical trial set up, where the objective is to assess safety, local tolerability, and to determine the maximum tolerated dose (MTD) of TP_102 bacteriophage cocktail given by topical administration. We also aim to evaluate the antibacterial efficacy of TP_102 in diabetic foot infection.
Session
Session 2: Phage Biology and Synergies
Speaker
2:50 pm, Sep 25, 2019
Issues in clinical phage microbiology from the design table to the lab and back
Dr Ronen Hazan, Principal Investigator, Hebrew University
  • Discuss what is the “right” way to perform a clinical phage microbiology screen that will be timely, accurate, and able to predict the preferable treatment using phages and antibiotics.
  • Hear about development of rapid practice and methodologies that will provide reliable answers on the potential synergism or antagonism between single or multiple phages with or without antibiotics is imperative.
  • Debate advantages and disadvantages in terms of duration, simplicity, accuracy, and cost of the various procedures and methodologies available which should facilitate the use of phages.
Speaker
3:20 pm, Sep 25, 2019
The importance of phage and immune system interactions
Dr Krystyna Dabrowska, Phage Biologist, Bacteriophage Laboratory, Polish Academy of Sciences
  • Learn how to monitor and assess potential immune responses from phage interactions.
  • Explore the factors that induce phage neutralisation from a host’s gut immune response.
Event
3:50 pm, Sep 25, 2019
Poster Session & Networking Break
Keynote
4:30 pm, Sep 25, 2019
Magistral Phage: The public health approval of active phage ingredients of the magistral preparation
Dr Pieter-Jan Ceyssens, Unit Head ‘Antibiotics & Resistance’, Sciensano
Wim Penninckx, Head of Assessors Division, The Federal Agency of Medicines and Health (FAMHP)

One of biggest hurdles to the introduction of phage therapy in Western medicine has been the lack of an appropriate legal and regulatory framework. The adoption of the magistral preparation in Belgium is changing the landscape

  • Learn about the magistral preparation framework and how it was implemented in Belgium for phage.
  • Explore how phage products are regulated in Belgium by discussing: What is considered as ‘safe’ phage and how is this assessed? What parameters are controlled in the production lots of APIs? What are the main concerns left on the table?
Session
Plenary Session: Regulation and Clinical study
Panel
5:00 pm, Sep 25, 2019
Appropriate clinical trial design: Fixed cocktail or magistral phage? What is regulatory guidance within Europe, including the current barriers & working solutions
Dr Pieter-Jan Ceyssens, Unit Head ‘Antibiotics & Resistance’, Sciensano
Eric Pelfrene, Office of Anti-infectives and Vaccines, Human Medicines Evaluation Division, EMA
Nathalie Morgensztejn, Head of Virology and Gene Therapy Department, ANSM
  • Discover the European regulatory bodies’ position on both approaches in phage therapy.
  • Asses the possibilities for regulatory protocols currently in place within present European countries administering phage therapy.
  • Debate the benefits and challenges of each model for achieving clinical data.
Event
5:15 pm, Sep 25, 2019
End of day 2
Event
5:45 pm, Sep 25, 2019
End of day 1 presentations
Event
6:00 pm, Sep 25, 2019
Poster Session & Networking Break

Group A: 18:00-18:12

  • PhagoFlow - The German approach for magistral phage preparation for therapy of infected wounds
  • Pheri - Sequence based classification of bacteriophages
  • Strategy using phages to control Staphylococcus aureus responsible for bovine mastitis
  • The removal of endo- and enterotoxins from phage preparations

Group B: 18:13-18:25

  • Bacterial cybergenetics to resurrect sensitivity to antibiotics in anti-microbial resistant (AMR) pathogens
  • National Collection of Type Cultures Bacteriophage Collection and Repository
  • Phage lysate as a Drug Substance according to the Good Manufacturing Practice
  • Nanofibrillar cellulose as bacteriophage matrix

Group C: 18:26-18:38

  • Clinical Phage Microbiology: Designing Phage-Antibiotics Combination Protocols
  • Trade-off effects on phage sensitivity induced by phage resistance has a potential for strategic phage cocktails construction
  • Going viral against bacteria: Implications for phage therapy in aquaculture
  • Establishing “Plaque-to-Protein” approach for characterization of Bacterial viruses and enzymes

Group D: 18:39-18:51

  • Design and optimisation of bacterial biosensors able to detect tiny amounts of bacteriophages in raw environmental samples
  • Lessons learned from a K. pneumoniae patient case
  • Application of Machine Learning and Natural Language Processing to bacteriophage life cycle recognition
  • Molecular serotyping of Klebsiella strains for phage host range prediction
Event
7:00 pm, Sep 25, 2019
End of poster session
Phage Futures Europe: Day Two
8:30 am, Sep 26, 2019
Remarks
8:50 am, Sep 26, 2019
Opening remarks
Session
Plenary Session: Industrialisation and Market Access
Keynote
9:00 am, Sep 26, 2019
Phage therapy research in the Queen Astrid Military Hospital
Dr Jean-Paul Pirnay, Head of Laboratory for Molecular and Cellular Technology, Queen Astrid Military Hospital

In 2003, a first phage therapy related study proposal was submitted to the R&D department of Belgian Defense. It was dismissed as mere “science fiction” with a score of 8/20. Today, phage therapy research has become commonplace in the Queen Astrid Military Hospital. It encompasses different aspects:

  • The isolation, selection, characterization and production of candidate therapeutic phages active against clinically important pathogens such as Acinetobacter baumannii, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus aureus, Klebsiella pneumoniae and Escherichia coli.
  • Study of the bacterium-phage (host-parasite) relationship, with an emphasis on bacterial phage resistance evolution and the development of adequate treatment protocols.
  • Elaboration of a dedicated regulatory framework for phage therapy, involving magistral phage preparations and including realistic production and QC/QA regimens.
Speaker
9:30 am, Sep 26, 2019
Efficient production of various phage products using platform processes in a phage dedicated GMP facility
Dr. Frenk Smrekar, CEO, JAFRAL
  • Exploring manufacturing aspects of development of phage-based products
  • Discussing analytical and manufacturing platforms to minimize timelines and cost for development and production of phage-based products
  • Evaluation the most common bottlenecks on the path towards having robust and scalable nonGMP/GMP production process
Panel
9:45 am, Sep 26, 2019
Industrial view: pharma insights into their interest in phage research and their applications
Dr Todd Black, Executive Director, Infectious Diseases and Vaccines Basic Research, Merck Research Laboratories
Kristin Wannerberger, Director, R&D Alliance Management, Ferring Pharmaceuticals
Bob Blasdel, Research Director, Vesale Pharma

Generally big pharma perspective to bring a phage-based product forward is to have clear clinical, regulatory, and commercial paths.

  • Discuss the main challenges including narrow-spectrum activity, incomplete host range coverage within a species, and the ability to design appropriate and efficient clinical trials.
  • Defining the optimal means to apply phage therapy to address AMR beyond emergency cases will be vital in value proposition.

Industrial panel discussion is under way!

Event
10:35 am, Sep 26, 2019
Networking Break
Session
Session 1: Phage-related applications in alternative markets
Speaker
11:15 am, Sep 26, 2019
Scalable manufacturing of high purity phages and their formulation and encapsulation for targeted delivery and controlled release suitable for bacteriophage therapy
Dr Danish Malik, Senior Lecturer, Chemical Engineering Department, Loughborough University
  • Optimised upstream production of bacteriophages
  • Downstream purification for endotoxin reduction
  • At-line tools for process monitoring
  • Micro- and nanoencapsulation of bacteriophages for targeted delivery and controlled release.
Speaker
11:45 am, Sep 26, 2019
Entering the market via companion animals as a route to human health
Dr David Harper, CEO, Evolution Biotechnologies
  • Discuss how progressing a veterinary therapeutic to market, in the high-value companion animal sector, will provide proof of concept for both regulatory progression and commercialisation, while also providing valuable data on safety and efficacy for phage therapy in general.
  • Assess field trial data in canine otitis, as then undertaken provided useful data. for progression into clinical trials against otitis in humans but could also lead directly into pre-market trials for a veterinary therapeutic and low-cost model.
Event
12:15 pm, Sep 26, 2019
Networking Lunch
Speaker
1:40 pm, Sep 26, 2019
From concept to product – challenges at various stages in creating a successful, commercial phage for various applications: food, animal health and agriculture
Steven Hagens, Chief Scientific Officer, Micreos
  • Discuss how to define efficacy in various markets.
  • Learn about the regulatory issues in different segments and various jurisdictions.
  • Assess any differences in application data in industrial settings vs. laboratory experiments.
Session
Session 2: Companion diagnostics & Phage Characterisation
Speaker
2:10 pm, Sep 26, 2019
Using Artificial Intelligence (AI) for rapid infection and phage strain identification for personalised medicine models
Dr Miguel Barreto-Sanz, Phages4A
Carl Merril, Adaptive Phage Therapeutics
Greg Merril, CEO, Adaptive Phage Therapeutics
  • Discuss examples of in-silico prediction of phage-bacteria interaction.
  • Assess the current limitations and technical challenges.
  • Hear about the next steps in the building the predictive algorithm.
Speaker
2:40 pm, Sep 26, 2019
Phage Characterisation: learning how to effectively validate and annotate phage genomes to support accurate and safe phage therapy
Dr Matthew Lueder, Bioinformatics Analyst Genomics & Bioinformatics Dept. Biological Defense Research Directorate, Naval Medical Research Center, Biological Defense Research Directorate
  • Discover a phage characterization workflow used to generate data for submitting phages to the FDA.
  • Case study evidence of two new phage genome characterisations to demonstrate the pro-posed guidelines.
Event
3:10 pm, Sep 26, 2019
Networking Break
Session
Interactive Session: Commercial Phage Sourcing, Phage Training & Mitigating Resistance
Speaker
3:40 pm, Sep 26, 2019
Round tables
Bob Blasdel, Research Director, Vesale Pharma
Christine Rohde, Curator Bacteriophages, DSMZ
Biswaijit Biswas, Chief of Bacteriophage Science Division, US Naval Research
David Harper, CEO, Evolution Biotechnologies
Jessica Sacher, Microbiologist & Founder, Phage Directory
  • Commercial Phage Sourcing, Phage Training & Mitigating Resistance.
  • Directed bacteriophage evolution.
  • Environment impact to using phages industrially, disturbing the natural equilibrium.
  • Importance of disease selection.
  • Do therapeutic phages also act as immune modulators?
Remarks
5:05 pm, Sep 26, 2019
Closing Remarks
Phage Futures Europe: Day One
8:00 am, Sep 25, 2019
Event
8:00 am, Sep 25, 2019
Registration Opens
Session
Plenary Session: Treating the Unmet Need
Remarks
9:00 am, Sep 25, 2019
Opening remarks
Panel
9:10 am, Sep 25, 2019
Treating patients with phage therapy in Europe: Physicians’ insights into implementing and administering safe phage treatments in hospitals
Dr Ard Strujis, Director, Erasmus University Medical Center
Dr Ran Nir-Paz, Associate Professor of Medicine, Hadassah Medical Center
Christine Rohde, Curator Bacteriophages, DSMZ
  • Hear about current and past phage therapy programmes implemented in hospitals.
  • Gain a physician’s perspective on delivering phage therapy as treatment for infectious diseases.
Keynote
9:55 am, Sep 25, 2019
Infection suitability: discussing the importance of understanding bacterial targets for phage therapy, learning from previous clinical trial attempts
Dr Harald Bruessow, Phage Expert, KU Leuven, Group of Gene Technology

The importance of a defined bacterial pathogen with respect to:

  • An established association with the targeted infection.
  • An exclusion of polymicrobial infections.
  • Bacterial target concentration above phage infection threshold.
  • In situ accessibility (and coverage) of pathogen by applied phage preparation.
Event
10:25 am, Sep 25, 2019
Networking Break
Session
Session 1: Preclinical and Clinical Study of Acute and Chronic Diseases
Posters
PhagoFlow - The German approach for magistral phage preparation for therapy of infected wounds
Poster #1
Group A — 18:00-18:12
Pheri - Sequence based classification of bacteriophages
Poster #5
Group A — 18:00-18:12
Strategy using phages to control Staphylococcus aureus responsible for bovine mastitis
Poster #9
Group A — 18:00-18:12
The removal of endo- and enterotoxins from phage preparations
Poster #13
Group A — 18:00-18:12
Bacterial cybergenetics to resurrect sensitivity to antibiotics in anti-microbial resistant (AMR) pathogens
Poster #2
Group B — 18:13-18:25
National Collection of Type Cultures Bacteriophage Collection and Repository
Poster #6
Group B — 18:13-18:25
Phage lysate as a Drug Substance according to the Good Manufacturing Practice
Poster #10
Group B — 18:13-18:25
Nanofibrillar cellulose as bacteriophage matrix
Poster #14
Group B — 18:13-18:25
Clinical Phage Microbiology: Designing Phage-Antibiotics Combination Protocols
Poster #3
Group C — 18:26-18:38
Trade-off effects on phage sensitivity induced by phage resistance has a potential for strategic phage cocktails construction
Poster #7
Group C — 18:26-18:38
Going viral against bacteria: Implications for phage therapy in aquaculture
Poster #11
Group C — 18:26-18:38
Establishing “Plaque-to-Protein” approach for characterization of Bacterial viruses and enzymes
Poster #15
Group C — 18:26-18:38
Design and optimisation of bacterial biosensors able to detect tiny amounts of bacteriophages in raw environmental samples
Poster #4
Group D — 18:39-18:51
Lessons learned from a K. pneumoniae patient case
Poster #8
Group D — 18:39-18:51
Application of Machine Learning and Natural Language Processing to bacteriophage life cycle recognition
Poster #12
Group D — 18:39-18:51
Molecular serotyping of Klebsiella strains for phage host range prediction
Poster #16
Group D — 18:39-18:51

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