Bacteriophages, viruses that only kill specific bacteria, are receiving substantial attention as nontraditional antibacterial agents that may help alleviate the growing antibiotic resistance problem in medicine. We describe the design and preclinical development of AB-SA01, a fixed-composition bacteriophage product intended to treat Staphylococcus aureus infections. AB-SA01 contains three naturally occurring, obligately lytic myoviruses related to Staphylococcus phage K. AB-SA01 component phages have been sequenced and contain no identifiable bacterial virulence or antibiotic resistance genes. In vitro, AB-SA01 killed 94.5% of 401 clinical Staphylococcus aureus isolates, including methicillin-resistant and vancomycin-intermediate ones for a total of 95% of the 205 known multidrug-resistant isolates. The spontaneous frequency of resistance to AB-SA01 was ≤3 × 10-9, and resistance emerging to one component phage could be complemented by the activity of another component phage. In both neutropenic and immunocompetent mouse models of acute pneumonia, AB-SA01 reduced lung S. aureus populations equivalently to vancomycin. Overall, the inherent characteristics of AB-SA01 component phages meet regulatory and generally accepted criteria for human use, and the preclinical data presented here have supported production under good manufacturing practices and phase 1 clinical studies with AB-SA01.
Keywords: Staphylococcus aureus; antimicrobial; bacteriophage; biofilm; frequency of resistance; nontraditional antibacterial; phage sensitivity; phage therapy; resistance management.