Development of a Live Topical Microbicide for Women

Investigator: Craig Cohen, MD, MPH
Sponsor: Osel, Inc.

Location(s): United States


In a proprietary technology, Osel is pursuing an innovative strategy to prevent the transmission of viral diseases in humans.  MucoCept involves the use of proprietary technology designed to harness the Human Microbiome.

The natural microbiota and its associated biofilm on mucosal surfaces – the portal of entry for most viruses – neutralize viral particles before infection of the host cell can occur.  This approach may be used to prevent infection by a number of viruses in humans.

Non-pathogenic commensal bacteria may be harnessed to help prevent transmission of mucosally- transmitted viruses at these sites.  Osel is developing MucoCept to colonize vulnerable mucosal surfaces with commensal bacteria genetically modified to produce high levels of potent HIV-binding proteins.  Such proteins are either secreted or surface-displayed molecules that sequester viruses, impeding the access of viruses to underlying epithelial cells and lymphocyte targets.

The genetically-modified LBPs secret antiviral compounds that can inactivate viruses trapped in the epithelium, aborting the infectious process and/or significantly reduce the number of infectious viral particles (US Patent #5,733,540).

This novel approach creates a barrier to HIV transmission that is different from, yet compatible with, current antiviral therapies, future vaccines, and other barrier methods.

The approach is relatively inexpensive to manufacture, store, and distribute.  As a live, self-renewing “microbicide”  the MucoCept LBPs would not need to be administered at the time of sexual activity, i.e. it is “coital-independent.”  Administration is discreet and fully controlled by the female users.