At Invitris, we believe bacteriophages can stop the rising thread of antibiotic resistant bacteria. With the tools of synthetic biology we will bring phage therapy into the 21st century. Although phage therapy has been known for almost a century, but the common application of phage therapy still has to become reality in the western world. So what restricts phage therapy: Legal constraints and safe and clean production methods for therapeutic bacteriophages. Recently the legal issues seem to vanish, due to the fact that several countries, like Belgium, allowed the magistral preparation for bacteriophages. This means that no clinical trials are required for phage therapeutics and cocktails with a mixture of several bacteriophage are permitted, as long as good manufacturing practice is meet.
Still, the problem of safe and clean production of bacteriophages remains. This arises from the fact that standard bacteriophage production depends on toxic pathogenic host bacterium. Moreover, expensive and time-consuming purification methods are needed to isolate therapeutic bacteriophages from culture. To solve this issue, we created a cell-free platform, which is revolutionizing the production of therapeutic phages, independent from their bacterial hosts. Our phage production relies on cell-free expression of phages from phage DNA. Each step of our bacteriophage production has been optimized to meet Good Manufacturing Practice and guarantee that all safety requirements for therapeutic phages are met in the context of the magistral preparation.
We are a spin-off of the successful iGEM (“international Genetically Engineered Machine Competition") Munich Team of 2018, Phactory. We started our journey in early 2018 by the formation of our iGEM Team. After several rounds of brainstorming we came up with the Phactory project. We started to build our first prototypes, worked hard on our wiki and organized the European Meetup with more than 200 participants. In October finally, all iGEM teams from around the world meet in Boston to present their results. There we won the first runner up award among 350 other teams, besides different other awards like the Best Entrepreneurship project. Now we will push the cell-free assembly line further to bring it to market and continue our work on the cell-free expressed bacteriophages.
The iGEM competition is aimed at research projects in synthetic biology by students around the world. It is hosted annually by the international Genetically Engineered Machine Foundation, an independent non-profit organization based in Boston. The competition was originally conceived at the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). More than 350 teams participated in the 2018 competition, which is held in Boston every year.