Bacteriotherapy against Propionibacterium Acnes for the Treatment of Acne Vulgaris

Tech ID: 29947 / UC Case 2018-276-0


Reduction in Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes) survival correlates with clinical improvement of acne in patients. Systemic antibiotics have been used to treat acne for several decades and are still widely prescribed for acne patients. Topical antibiotics are also helpful, and the oxidizing agent benzoyl peroxide (BPO) has been one of the most frequently used topical medications for acne treatment. Topicals are often used as the first line treatment for patients suffering from mild to moderate acne. However, current antibiotic treatments have major drawbacks. Systemic antibiotics nonspecifically disrupts microbial ecosystem and promote antibiotic resistance. Topical antibiotics are very poor at killing P. acnes on the skin surface, therefore there is a current need for alternative methods for treatment.

Technology Description

Researchers at UC San Diego have an invention of bacteriotherapy that provides a more selective and potent method for killing P. acnes. They have found that some strains of skin commensal bacteria produce selective antimicrobial activity against pathogenic bacterial strains, but not against other members of skin microflora. Therefore, antimicrobial therapy using commensal bacterial strains would selectively kill target strains of microorganisms. The capacity for selective killing of pathogenic bacteria over the normal microflora is highly desirable because it may help to maintain homeostasis and shape the normal bacterial community. Most skin commensal strains of coagulase-negative Staphylococcus (CoNS) produce multiple antimicrobials. In this case, antimicrobial therapy using commensal strains of bacteria would have a low risk of generating a resistant mutant against antibiotics. Because the strains of CoNS we propose here are originally isolated from normal human skin, they would be low toxicity to the host.


This invention can be used for the treatment and prevention of acne vulgaris or other disorders exacerbated by the presence of P. acnes. We expect apply CoNS strains with anti-P. acnes activity to the skin for treatment of acne.


The researchers have previously demonstrated that topical application of live active CoNS strains, including S. epidermidis, S. hominis, S. warneri and S. capitis, formulated in skin moisturizer significantly decreased S. aureus colonization on the skin surface of patients with atopic dermatitis and improved the disease. Likewise, the same approach can be used for the treatment of P. acnes.

State Of Development

The inventors have established cell banks of CoNS strains that produce antimicrobial activity against P. acnes. We have obtained genome sequences of these CoNS strains with high coverage. We are currently examined potency of antimicrobial activity of each strain against different strains of P. acnes.

Intellectual Property Info

This technology is patent pending and available for licensing and/or research sponsorship.

Related Materials

Patent Status

Patent Pending


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Other Information


acne vulgaris, antimicrobial therapy, bacteriotherapy, Propionibacterium acnes, skin microbiome

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