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Identification of ADS024, a newly characterized strain of Bacillus velezensis with direct Clostridiodes difficile killing and toxin degradation bio-activities

O'Donnell, MM;Hegarty, JW;Healy, B;Schulz, S;Walsh, CJ;Hill, C;Ross, RP;Rea, MC;Farquhar, R;Chesnel, L;

Clostridioides difficile infection (CDI) remains a significant health threat worldwide. C. difficile is an opportunistic, toxigenic pathogen that takes advantage of a disrupted gut microbiome to grow and produce signs and symptoms ranging from diarrhea to pseudomembranous colitis. Antibiotics used to treat C. difficile infection are usually broad spectrum and can further disrupt the commensal gut microbiota, leaving patients susceptible to recurrent C. difficile infection. There is a growing need for therapeutic options that can continue to inhibit the outgrowth of C. difficile after antibiotic treatment is completed. Treatments that degrade C. difficile toxins while having minimal collateral impact on gut bacteria are also needed to prevent recurrence. Therapeutic bacteria capable of producing a range of antimicrobial compounds, proteases, and other bioactive metabolites represent a potentially powerful tool for preventing CDI recurrence following resolution of symptoms. Here, we describe the identification and initial characterization of ADS024 (formerly ART24), a novel therapeutic bacterium that can kill C. difficile in vitro with limited impact on other commensal bacteria. In addition to directly killing C. difficile, ADS024 also produces proteases capable of degrading C. difficile toxins, the drivers of symptoms associated with most cases of CDI. ADS024 is in clinical development for the prevention of CDI recurrence as a single-strain live biotherapeutic product, and this initial data set supports further studies aimed at evaluating ADS024 in future human clinical trials.