Sanofi-Pasteur, the world’s biggest vaccine company, has signed a contract with the University of California, San Diego, to develop “an immunological approach to acne prevention and treatment”.
Acne is no joke. “More than 85 per cent of teenagers and over 40 million people in the United States alone are suffering this disease” and many adults have it too, says Chun-Ming Huang, head of the lab at the centre of the deal.
One approach Huang’s team plans to try is to develop monoclonal antibodies to CAMP that can be delivered locally, using microneedles, within the skin of people with acne. This would disrupt P. acnes-related inflammation without disturbing its better-behaved brethren elsewhere.
According to Sanofi Pasteur’s estimates, the annual worldwide market for acne therapeutics is in excess of US $3 billion.
Targeting the protein that the bacteria use to cause trouble, rather than killing the bacteria, is unlikely to encourage the selection of resistant bacteria, as all the P. acnes survive treatment, the team notes. And it won’t disrupt normal bacteria in healthy skin, which do not produce CAMP