Spirochetal bacteria are driver pathogens in many emerging infectious diseases and represent a significant unmet medical need.
Spirochetes are biologically sophisticated, invasive and technically difficult to detect, biopsy, culture, diagnose and treat. When left untreated or unresolved (>6mos), infections can lead to worsening symptoms, immune system malfunction, lasting microbiome changes, additional comorbidities or diseases and death. All of which lead to large, often immeasurable negative impacts on patients, families and the healthcare system.
Flightpath Biosciences is “Thinking Beyond the Infection™”, bridging scientific unknowns by interrogating disparate fields of biology, taking risks, innovating and deploying potentially orthogonal approaches to achieve desired outcomes. We are working with leading scientists, therapeutics and diagnostics experts across multiple scientific disciplines within several esteemed academic institutions and government agencies to create novel, targeted solutions.
Flightpath Biosciences uses advanced drug discovery tools to identify optimal therapeutic candidates and cutting-edge drug delivery technology to vastly improve drug targeting and safety, reduce negative impacts on the microbiome, speed the time-to-market and eliminate non-target antibiotic resistance risks.
In parallel, our data science and bioinformatics partners are working hard to understand host and microbiome genetics and transcriptomics to further define the impact of our drugs on the patient’s immune system, microbiome and overall health. We believe this will lead us to new data, novel discoveries and potentially new diagnostics and therapeutics.
Science Driven & Data Supported
Hygromycin-A is a breakthrough, first-in-class selective antibiotic that inhibits bacterial ribosomal peptidyl transferase in spirochetes. Flightpath has generated impressive MIC / MBC data and demonstrated spirochete selectivity in vitro and established efficacy in animals versus standard-of-care broad spectrum antibiotic therapies in vivo. Based on the selective nature of the molecule the company has not seen evidence of toxicity at mulitiple ascending doses. We are now advancing the research across all known and accessible members of the spirochete family.
Flightpath has conducted extensive high throughput screening of FDA-approved compounds, yielding two high-potential bactericidal drugs with promising efficacy that could be repurposed for treatment of Lyme and other diseases. The company has developed proprietary, oral delivery technologies and pathogen-specific injectable formulations to achieve optimal efficacy at potentially lower doses with improved safety profiles.
Microbiome Diagnostic Signatures
Patients with Post-Treatment Lyme Disease often have neurological, psychological and / or immune system difficulties related to untreated infection and long-term, broad-spectrum antibiotic use. Flightpath has developed early indicative data that the impacts of chronic spirochetal infections can be detected in the gut microbiome. We are working with partners to understand the disease and the related genetic and longitudinal therapeutic impacts on the host microbiome to develop the world’s first microbiome diagnostic signature for patients with suspected PTLD.
Flightpath and its collaborators are working to advance the first therapeutic microbiome consortium product for patients suffering from Post-Treatmen Lyme Disease.
species of bacterial spirochetes identified
of spirochetes are oral treponemes (57); only 10 have been cultured
homology amongst treponemes
new Lyme disease diagnoses in the US each year
65M adults in the US have periodontal disease
people have some form of endemic trepanematosis
people are living with Persistent Lyme Disease in the US
cases of adult and congenital syphilis; an unseen US epidemic
new diagnostic efforts underway to identify patients with Lyme
The Spirochetes are a deeply-branching phylum of bacteria initially delineated by their serpentine shape and periplasmic flagella. Their unusual cellular ultrastructure, motility mechanism, metabolic pathways, capacity for gene regulation and to modulate and evade the immune system make them a challenging opponent. Pathogenic spirochetes include the agents of Lyme disease, leptospirosis, syphilis, relapsing fever, periodontal disease, digital dermatitis, and intestinal spirochetosis that pose immense, and growing, global threats to human and animal health.
Diseases in Focus
Lyme disease is the most common vector-borne disease in the United States. Lyme disease is caused by spirochetal bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi and rarely, Borrelia mayonii. It is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected blacklegged ticks. Typical symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, and a characteristic skin rash called erythema migrans. If left untreated, infection can spread to joints, the heart, and the nervous system.
Endemic “Tropical” Treponematoses
A nonvenereal infectious disease caused by the spirochetal bacteria, Treponema pertenue, which is related to syphilis. Yaws is a disorder which is common in children and is characterized by skin and bone lesions. It is rarely found in the United States but is common among children in the humid tropics of Africa, South and Central America, the West Indies, and the Far East. See FDA’s Tropical Disease Priority Review Voucher Program for more information.
Many periodontal disease conditions such as: the early stage of periodontitis, acute pericoronitis (infection under the gum tissue covering a partially erupted tooth), as well as necrotising ulcerative gingivitis (severe inflammation of the gum more common in immunocompromised patients) are caused by Treponema denticola, a subgingival oral spirochete. Advanced disease is also known as Vincent’s disease, fusospirochetal gingivitis or Trench mouth
Adult and Congenital Syphilis
Congenital syphilis is caused by a spirochete bacteria (Treponema pallidum) and acquired by the fetus from the mother. Pregnant women with syphilis may have a reduction in estrogen while serum progesterone levels may increase. Symptoms may include inflammation of the umbilical chord, rash, fever, low birth weight, high levels of cholesterol, aseptic meningitis, anemia, monocytosis, enlarged liver and spleen, jaundice, shedding of skin on palms and soles, convulsions, mental retardation, periostitis, rhinitis, hair loss, inflammation of the eye’s iris and pneumonia.
Leptospirosis (Weil syndrome)
Leptospirosis is an infectious disease that affects humans and animals caused by the spirochetal bacteria, Leptospira. Humans become infected through contact with water, food or soil containing urine from infected animals such as dogs, cats, cattle, horses, pigs, and, especially, rodents. Symptoms include high fever, chills, muscle aches, headache, vomiting, diarrhea, and jaundice. Early detection is important as the disease can cause serious complications if not treated early, including kidney damage (nephrosis), meningitis (inflammation of the tissue around the brain or spinal cord), respiratory distress and/or liver failure.