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Synthetic Biologics Moves Offices to Johns Hopkins University Montgomery County Campus

Synthetic Biologics, a microbiome-focused clinical-stage biotechnology company, is moving its offices to the Johns Hopkins University Montgomery County Campus. Synthetic Biologics previously had its corporate headquarters at the VisArts incubator space in downtown Rockville but is moving its staff of 15 to the JHU campus, with plans to add more staff members in the future. The company has its administrative and financial offices in Ann Arbor, Mich.

The company is developing drugs to protect the gut microbiome in an effort to maintain the natural balance of bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract, which is important to our overall health, said Kris Maly, the company’s vice president of corporate communications.

Synthetic Biologics is developing drugs to combat:

  • C. difficile: Patients in hospitals are at a particular risk for developing C. difficile infection, which can result in diarrhea and, in some cases, colon inflammation that can be life threatening.

    C. difficile is a growing health problem in the United States, with approximately half a million patients infected each year. The development of C. difficile infection often occurs after a patient receives common intravenous antibiotics to treat another problem. The IV antibiotic might treat the original health problem but can wipe out the natural balance of the gut microbiome, causing complications.

    C. difficile bacteria are resistant to many drugs, and the infection is difficult to treat. Synthetic Biologics is in Phase 2 clinical trials for the development of an oral tablet that would be co-administered with the IV antibiotic. It would allow the antibiotic to treat the primary infection while protecting the balance of the gut microbiome, thereby preventing C. difficile infection.

  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome with constipation. Synthetic Biologics is developing an oral tablet that would reduce methane production in the gut while minimizing disruption to the gut microbiome. Methane produced by a microorganism in the gut is thought to be the cause of pain, bloating and constipation associated with IBS-C. Slowing down the production of methane would treat the underlying cause of IBS-C. Phase 2 clinical trials are in progress.

  • Multiple sclerosis. Synthetic Biologics is developing an oral drug that would treat relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis as well as a cognitive dysfunction in female MS patients. Phase 2 clinical trials have been completed for relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis.

  • Pertussis, or whooping cough. Synthetic Biologics is developing a monoclonal antibody combination that aims to reduce the infant mortality rate from whooping cough. This drug is in pre-clinical stages. The company is looking for funding to investigate this further.

Synthetic Biologics will move corporate headquarters to the Montgomery County Campus, including its clinical, regulatory, research and development groups.

Approximately 35 companies are located on the Johns Hopkins University Montgomery County Campus. Scientists and researchers here study cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, cell therapy, proteins and other health topics. Other companies focus on technology, medical devices and consulting services.

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