A genetically engineered synthetic probiotic could reduce poultry mortality and improve feed conversion against the bacterium Clostridium perfringens, a precursor to necrotic enteritis.

“We develop recombinant antimicrobial live therapeutics. You can think of them as probiotics, but they are synthetically engineered so that their activity against pathogens is boosted up,” explained Yiannis Kaznessis, CEO, General Probiotics Inc.

Controlling C. perfringens

The biotherapeutic uses a combination of genetic engineering and synthetic biology techniques to function as an alternative to antibiotics against C. perfringens and necrotic enteritis.

Necrotic enteritis is an acute infection caused by the bacteria C. perfingens. Intestinal damage in poultry allows the bacteria, which is a normal inhabitant of the intestinal tract, to attach, proliferate and produce toxins.

It effectively decreases mortality by 40-70% against C. perfringens in animal tests. In addition, birds that were administered the live therapeutic showed improved feed conversion ratio.

Early research suggests that the biotherapeutic will work against other poultry diseases, including coccidiosis and avian influenza.


Preliminary FDA approval achieved

Presented as an innovation at the 2020 Poultry Tech Summit Webinar Series, General Probiotics recently obtained label claim approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). 

“For the last couple of years, we’ve been working with the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) to get approval for what would be the first recombinant live therapeutic for animal health in the U.S. and globally,” Kaznessis added.

General Probiotics is looking for partners to help manufacture the biotherapeutic treatment at a commercial scale and expand testing in commercial poultry facilities.

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