A New Strategy to Treat Disease

Synlogic is harnessing synthetic biology to design smart living biotherapeutics, medicines programmed with specific genes and molecular components, to address dysregulation and other drivers of disease. Synthetic Biotic™ medicines have the potential to treat a range of conditions including rare diseases, metabolic conditions, autoimmune and inflammatory diseases and cancers.

Synthetic Biotic medicines are living microbes genetically engineered to perform a specific function or deliver a therapeutic agent. Synlogic has designed proprietary switches and genetic systems able to activate, inhibit or modulate activity to treat disease in the body.

A Compelling Case Study: Phenylketonuria

Identifying a Need

For people with the rare condition phenylketonuria (PKU), a genetic mutation affects the body’s ability to break down the amino acid phenylalanine (Phe) in dietary proteins. This can cause toxic buildup of Phe in the blood and cause serious neurological disorders.

Designing Smart Living Microbes

To reduce Phe buildup in the blood, our scientists engineered a strain of the microorganism E. coli Nissle with the ability to metabolize the amino acid. We inserted genetic circuitry and a bacterial gene that encodes phenylalanine ammonia lyase, an enzyme that breaks down Phe by converting it to trans-cinnamic acid in the gut. Trans-cinnamic acid is then converted to hippuric acid in the liver, which can be excreted in urine. Taken orally, the medicine was created to remain inactive until it reaches its final destination. Then sensing the internal environment, a programmed “switch” in the medicine is activated triggering enzyme production.

Delivering Our Medicines for Optimal Effect

Synlogic’s Synthetic Biotic medicines are created to act locally for a systemic effect. Certain medicines like our therapy for PKU are administered orally, working through the gut to impact disease. Our cancer therapies are delivered directly into the tumor to stimulate local immune activity which subsequently triggers a systemic anti-tumor response.

Targeted Administration