By Megan Paulson Outlaw Partners Chief Operating Officer
Microbial biofilm is a form of bacteria that is
nearly everywhere. In fact, it resides in everything
from toothbrushes to the geysers
in Yellowstone National Park.
In the last 20 years, science has shown that
98 percent of all bacteria exist as microbion
biofilms. Making up roughly 50 percent of
the Earth’s biomass, they provide a highly
resistant protective shield for bacteria and
fungi, facilitating their survival for billions
of years.
More than 80 percent of all infections are
related to microbial biofilms, according to the
National Institutes of Health. Moreover, the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
have affirmed biofilms are highly resistant to
frontline antibiotics, causing more than 65
percent of hospital-acquired infections.
Microbial biofilms cause many problems,
including biocorrosion of oil pipelines, and
biofouling of ship’s hulls, pulp and paper
manufacturing, and water filtration systems
used for desalinization and production of safe
drinking water.
For Bozeman-based Microbion Corporation,
advancements in the microbial biofilm
industry have propelled the company into a
wave of opportunity. Microbion is developing
a platform of broad-spectrum bismuththiol
(BT) antimicrobial compounds effective
against nearly all antibiotic-resistant bacteria
tested and their microbial biofilms.
“We believe that BTs may be the most
potent, broad-spectrum antimicrobial/antibiofilm
compounds developed to date,” says Dr.
Brett Baker, Microbion Founder, President and
The company’s revolutionary compounds are
showing several key advantages over current
frontline antibiotics. This, Baker notes, makes
the BT technology unique in both health and
industrial settings.
Globally, market trends and unmet health
needs have shifted, emphasizing the need for
new classes of antimicrobials that address lifethreatening,
antibiotic-resistant infections and
microbial biofilms.
Last year, the World Health Organization
identified antibiotic resistance as a global health
crisis. In response, Congress in 2012 passed the
GAIN (Generating Antibiotic Incentives Now)
Act with broad bipartisan support. This legislation
provides incentives and FDA regulatory
priority to companies developing new drugs to
fight antibiotic resistant infections.
In October 2012, the Defense Medical Research
and Development Program awarded
Microbion and team a $2.5 million grant,
provided through the U.S. Department of
With the funding Microbion, working with
the University of Pennsylvania and University
of California – San Francisco, will conduct
Phase 2 human trials to treat post-surgical
orthopedic infections with Microbion’s
BisEDT, an antimicrobial drug currently in
regulatory development. Scientists successfully
completed the therapeutic drug’s Phase
1 trials in 2011.
“This is a critically important area for the
global community, as almost all current
antibiotics are losing effectiveness against
antibiotic resistant bacterial and fungal
infections,” Dr. Baker said.
The technology has the potential to
improve outcomes for more than 100,000
orthopedic implant patients suffering from
post-operative infections in the United
States each year.
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