Despite receiving antibiotic treatment, an estimated half a million patients in the US continue to suffer from the debilitating symptoms of a condition known as post-treatment Lyme disease (PTLD). These patients experience lingering symptoms such as fatigue, pain, or memory problems that can last from several months to years after infection.

Although the exact cause of PTLD is not known, one hypothesis is that Borrelia burgdorferi, the causative agent of Lyme disease, persists in the form of biofilms, a type of bacterial colonization and a common and extremely effective bacterial defense mechanism that shields bacteria from standard doses of antibiotics.

Agile Sciences has developed a library of proprietary compounds shown to inhibit and disrupt these bacterial defense mechanisms. With the support of the Bay Area Lyme Foundation, Agile is now developing these compounds to provide effective treatments for Lyme disease and PTLD in combination with antibiotics.

How Does It Work?

Initial phases of this work conducting in vitro screening of the compounds has resulted in the identification of a lead compound that can successfully inhibit and disperse the B. burgdorferi biofilms at therapeutically relevant concentrations, particularly when used in combination with the most commonly prescribed antibiotics (doxycycline, ceftriaxone, and amoxicillin).

As a combination therapy, this treatment will act to dismantle the biofilm community into single, free-floating bacteria, allowing the antibiotic to work on the free-floating planktonic form of the bacteria towards which it is most effective.

Project Details

To further assess the potential of this compound, the team is currently conducting a comprehensive pilot study utilizing a well-established mouse model of Lyme disease to assess the in vivo ability of a combination treatment with doxycycline.

In order to define the optimal dosing strategy for the treatment therapy, the objectives of this phase are to:

  1. assess the efficacy of the compound as a treatment therapy
  2. evaluate the toxicity, absorption, and distribution of the compound

Lead Researcher(s)
Eva Garland, PhD, Vice President of Research and Development, Agile Sciences

For more information about this or other project funding opportunities, contact our Development Office.