Our Research

Research is what we do

Our research is directed at selectively improving specific characteristics of existing therapeutic proteins to enhance their clinical utility.

We are applying the state of the art computational techniques to design protein variants “in silico” to engineer improved characteristics with direct application to their clinical performance. These variants are then rapidly cloned and expressed in amounts suitable for physico-chemical and, most significantly, pre-clinical assays to screen for the most suitable of the variants to take to testing in animal disease models prior to clinical testing to confirm their improved clinical utility status.

Our early focus is on proteins that have demonstrated clear clinical utility and data in human disease. We are targeting clinical properties that can be enhanced by rational redesign of key features so as to improve bioavailability, half life or biological potency. Many existing protein drugs are amenable to structural modifications to improve their clinical utility and have been altered to produce the second generation improved products.  We, however, are directing our research at designing new highly potent protein drugs that have demonstrated clear utility in the clinic and have modes of action complementary to existing protein drugs.

New modes of action provide the greatest market opportunity for the future as the existing drugs mature and the immune defences of the existing patients adapt and compensate for the prolonged use of the drugs. Our first product is just such a protein. We have designed and produced modified derivatives with better solubility and half life characteristics.

Live biotherapeutics

Probiotics are defined as “live microorganisms that, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host.  It has long been known that probiotics are effective in improving a person’s health; as Hippocrates himself said over 2,000 years ago “all disease begins in the gut”.  The traditional use of probiotics has mostly been to improve the overall state of well-being and has relied on a limited number of well-known species and strains of bacteria.  In more recent times the application of these strains has also been devoted to modulation and repair of the gut microbiome, however the bulk of studies were not focussed on directly treating one particular illness.  Our research is concentrated on developing Live Biotherapeutic Products that are applicable to the prevention, treatment, or cure of specific diseases or conditions, in humans.  Our studies utilise bacterial strains that have not previously been widely employed and we aim to cultivate these strains for targeted treatment of a number of autoimmune conditions.

It is well known certain types of beneficial bacteria exhibit anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory properties.  Servatus has extensive knowledge and experience in the areas of biotechnology and immunology and our research is based around performing rigorous in vitro and in vivo scientific evaluation to better understand the mechanism of action of our bacteria and to determine the best targets for treatment.  In addition we can administer this expanded knowledge to manipulate or alter the bacteria to ultimately produce bio-better versions with increased potency and efficiency.

Autoimmune Conditions and live BIOTHERAPEUTICS

Autoimmune conditions arise when the body’s immune system begins to attack its own healthy tissue as if it were foreign.  The body contains a class of cells named T cells, and these cells as a key component of the immune system are employed by the body to regulate the immune response and control against infections.  Gut microbiota play an integral role in the development and differentiation of T cells and can significantly impact the population and diversity of T cell types.  In particular regulatory T cells are a key mediator of immune tolerance and when these cells become disrupted or are defective it often leads to autoimmune disorders.  It is apparent that an imbalance in gut bacteria can lead to autoimmune dysfunction. 

Equally, it  may possible to reduce or eliminate autoimmune related conditions by treatment with selective bacteria.  As much as up to 8 % of the population worldwide is affected by an autoimmune disorder and this number is expected to increase drastically over the next few decades.  In order to address this mounting problem Servatus is developing microbial based treatments for autoimmune disorders including general inflammation/ arthritis, ulcerative colitis, and atopic dermatitis.