MatriSys Bioscience, Inc.

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July 1, 2019 Issue



With the benefit of a Ten Thousand Microbial Library, MatriSys Bioscience, Inc. is developing Therapeutics from Live Natural Beneficial Bacteria to Treat Dermatology and Skin Care Conditions



Mark S. Wilson

Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer

MatriSys Bioscience, Inc.


Interview conducted by:

Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor, CEOCFO Magazine, Published – July 1, 2019


CEOCFO: Mr. Wilson, what is the concept behind MatriSys Bioscience Inc?

Mr. Wilson: MatriSys Bio is a skin therapeutics company. We are developing therapeutics from live beneficial bacteria that are natural bacterial strains found on healthy human skin. We know that there are good and bad bugs; bad bugs here being pathogens like Staph. aureus, like staph infections. Staph is Staphylococcus aureus. That is a pathogen. What we are developing is the opposite. These are known as Coagulase Negative Staphylococcal bacteria. They are known as “good bugs”. They produce potent antibacterial peptides that kill pathogens like Staph aureus.


CEOCFO: Where are you getting them? Whose skin? How do you start a strain? How long do you keep it? What are the mechanics of what you are doing?

Mr. Wilson: The science and discovery is from the University of California, San Diego and the laboratory of Professor Richard L. Gallo MD, PhD.  Prof. Gallo, two other colleagues, and I started this company to commercialize his discoveries. What Professor Gallo did was to swab healthy volunteers’ skin for these beneficial bacteria. He ended up with a collection of maybe ten thousand strains and screened those bacterial strains against a pathogen like Staph aureus. In high school you might have done bacterial cultures where you looked at something that can make, what is called a “zone of inhibition” which is dead bacteria. That is how he selected these beneficial microbes. For our first product, he screened this library of beneficial bugs against the pathogen Staph aureus and came up with one strain that was one of the best. That strain is what we are commercializing as a pharmaceutical product. It is currently in development as a dermatological therapy.


CEOCFO: What types of skin conditions might you treat?

Mr. Wilson: Our first product is targeted at atopic dermatitis. Atopic dermatitis, also known as atopic eczema, is very prevalent in the Western world. In the US, approximately thirty percent of kids suffer from atopic dermatitis and they are colonized by Staph aureus.


CEOCFO: What is the current regimen of treatment?

Mr. Wilson: Today, especially for kids, doctors prescribe steroids of various potencies and there are new approved therapies which block the immune system. Some researchers believe that atopic dermatitis has to do with a skin barrier defect. Others believe it is an overactive immune system. We believe it is both of those, but it really is Staph aureus. You are colonized by it, it is not in your blood stream like when you are infected. It is in your pores, on the surface of your skin and in your hair follicles. Just like as a teenager you might have had acne. Acne shows on the surface of your skin, but it is really in your pores and it is very hard to get rid of something that has colonized you. You can take a long course of antibiotics to treat acne, which would otherwise kill the acne bug, but because you are colonized, antibiotic therapies have a hard time getting into your clogged, infected hair follicles because antibiotics don’t absorb that deeply. You can take a long course of antibiotics and still have acne. This is the same concept as with atopic dermatitis. With atopic dermatitis, you are colonized by Staph aureus, or even MRSA. MRSA is methicillin-resistant Staph aureus that is tougher to treat than most strains of Staph aureus because it is resistant to some commonly used antibiotics.


CEOCFO: How would someone use your product when it is ready?

Mr. Wilson: Today, there is a Phase I/IIA clinical trial underway, sponsored by the NIH and they are looking at a twice a day application, in the morning and the evening. That clinical trial is using a frozen product. What MatriSys has done is we have used the Gallo science and we have made commercially viable, room temperature stable products. The live bacteria have been freeze-dried, milled, and formulated in an anhydrous oil. That formulation is room temperature stable. However, when you put it on your skin, the bug comes back to life due to the water loss from your skin and makes the anti-microbial peptides that kill Staph aureus.


CEOCFO: Are there potential side effects? What, if anything, have you found? 

Mr. Wilson: We have seen no significant side-effects yet. That is why you see, in newspapers and other media, so much written about the promise of these microbiome therapies. This is not a steroidal approach, so we are not giving steroids to kids. The therapies we are developing are not blocking your immune system, because you might need your immune system. They are a completely different approach. The microbe in our first product, S. hominis strain A9 is a natural competitor of Staph aureus for the various niches on your skin. Strain A9 makes potent antibacterial peptides that kill Staph. They are basically competing for the niche on your skin.


CEOCFO: Are there people in the medical community that are aware of what you have done onboard? Is there some skepticism? Will there be resistance?

Mr. Wilson: That is a very good question! Absolutely! The two prevailing theories of atopic dermatitis are “outside in”-you have a skin barrier defect, or “inside out”-you have an overactive immune system. This is the prevailing wisdom. Pharmaceutical companies are either following one of those two approaches, looking at skin barrier therapies or looking at something that blocks the immune system. Therefore, there is definitely skepticism there! In the field however, when you look to pediatrics and pediatricians, thirty percent of kids have atopic dermatitis. One of our scientific advisors, Professor L. Eichenfield from UC San Diego conducted a survey at the American Pediatrics conference last year about what pediatricians thought about the upcoming microbiome therapies. The result was overwhelmingly favorable. That is because atopic dermatitis is a condition that is predominant in kids; pediatricians do not really want to give kids steroids and they do not necessarily want to block their immune system. If there were a safe therapy like the one we are developing, the survey clearly showed it was on the order of ninety percent acceptance. Now, we are not fully clinically validated yet. This is why the company is raising money to carry out further clinical studies and clinically validate this therapy.


CEOCFO: What have you learned so far that may have surprised you?

Mr. Wilson: Although we already knew it, it has continued to surprise us: It is difficult for medicine to rapidly embrace a new scientific field and the novel therapies coming from that field, because it takes time and substantial clinical validation. It takes a much longer time than people had anticipated because this whole microbiome thing is a novel scientific concept, especially the skin microbiome. Therefore, it does take a lot of effort to effectively communicate this new science to potential partners and investors. We really have to educate them from the very beginning.


CEOCFO: Are other people working in the same arena?

Mr. Wilson: Indeed, there are others, but none are specifically doing what we are doing. There are other microbiome approaches. There are certainly plenty of companies looking at the gut microbiome. But only a few are really focusing on the skin. MatriSys’ strength is the robust science and inventions of Professor Gallo and the Gallo Lab at UCSD. Professor Gallo is a world-renowned physician-scientist. He discovered in the 1990s that the cells of your skin, the keratinocytes, produce anti-microbial peptides and are the basis of your innate immune system. Now, what he has more recently discovered is that beneficial bacteria synergize with your skin cells making anti-microbial peptides and that they are more potent in combination. Your skin makes anti-microbial peptides and these beneficial bacterial also make anti-microbial peptides. What we are learning is that that the barrier, the “first line of defense” of your body, is not just your skin, but the beneficial bacteria as well.


CEOCFO: You have some other skin condition solutions that are somewhat on the back burner. What else are might you develop?

Mr. Wilson: We are looking at acne and we are also looking at skin cancer.  We have a special strain of a different bacterium that makes a small molecule that appears to inhibit DNA replication. So, if you have that anti-cancer strain on your skin, maybe you will not develop skin cancer. In this potential anti-cancer indication, results of studies done in mice under high intensity UV light show that the mice with the beneficial strain on their skin did not progress to cancer, whereas those that did not have that strain, did.


The real benefit of what MatriSys has is its ten thousand microbial library. This library can be screened against different pathogens to identify and develop other beneficial products. We would also like to look at women’s health, to look at oral health, and to look at other areas where we could rebalance the microbiome.


CEOCFO: Would you tell us about your indication for rosacea?

Mr. Wilson: Rosacea is a top 5 skin condition. The rosacea program that we have is based on Professor Gallo’s discoveries but is not a microbiome solution. In this case, it is a small molecule that inhibits the protease enzymes in the disease condition that creates the inflammatory peptides that cause rosacea. We are basically blocking proteases that is involved in the pathophysiology of the disease. What we hope to do is to block these inflammatory peptides. There is definitely room for improved and more effective therapies for rosacea. Our rosacea program is an opportunistic program we licensed from UCSD and the Gallo laboratory.


CEOCFO: How do you deal with some of the challenges in knowing that you have something potentially so helpful and yet it takes a lot of time and a lot of money to get it moving?

Mr. Wilson: Perseverance and conviction that what we are doing will be beneficial to others. And a lot of education. Education of potential partners, investors, and collaborators. And compassion. I am a parent. About thirty percent of kids have atopic dermatitis. What people have to realize is that the rash they develop is a 24/7 itch. It itches all the time. It keeps kids away from school and it keeps them from sleeping well. We are one hundred percent convinced that our therapy will be beneficial to these kids and it is what drives us as a company. It is a very rewarding feeling to develop a new safe therapy. But it is our determination to get from where we are today to these new therapies that will determine our success.


CEOCFO: How are you reaching out to potential investors? When you talk with them, do they understand?

Mr. Wilson: We attend many investor conferences, especially the ones for biopharmaceutical companies. We were at the JP Morgan conference in San Francisco in January where we meet with a whole variety of investors. In general, yes, investors always have to be educated because it is a new field but, fortunately, there is a lot of interest in the benefits of the microbiome. We have had multiple meetings with the many investors we talked to. Once they are up to speed with the science, they are generally very interested. Yes, we have to present the science in a way that is understandable. I talk a lot about “good bugs” and “bad bugs”. I do not get too deep into the science unless they are knowledgeable of that scientific area. We have to present it in a way that is clear; it has to be understandable by your average investor!


CEOCFO: How do you standout at a conference when there are hundreds of companies with ideas and they all want the same attention that you do?

Mr. Wilson: That is the challenge! I focus on clearly presenting our novel science, and the promise of beneficial products that can be developed. It is an exciting area that is catching on in the general public, and so I think that there is a momentum out there.


CEOCFO: Why pay attention to MatriSys Bioscience? 

Mr. Wilson: The benefit of what we offer is the therapeutic opportunity to not use steroids and to not block the immune system, to potentially treat the causative factor of atopic dermatitis in a natural way and without the side-effects of the traditional therapies. These are natural microbes found on healthy skin. If our therapeutic products continue to perform well through the subsequent clinical trials, it will be a safe topical medicine that will be the first line treatment for this highly prevalent condition. Therefore, we hope to soon have a safe alternative to steroids and blocking your immune system derived from the natural human microbiome. The modern, clean environment in which we live nowadays is believed to contribute to make atopic dermatitis more prevalent. It is a very large and growing market.



“The benefit of what we offer is the therapeutic opportunity to not use steroids and to not block your immune system, to potentially treat the causative factor of atopic dermatitis in a natural way and without the side-effects of the traditional therapies. If our therapeutic products continue to perform well through the subsequent clinical trials, it will be a safe topical medicine that will be the first line treatment for this highly prevalent condition.”- Mark S. Wilson


MatriSys Bioscience, Inc.



Mark S. Wilson

(858) 752-9003







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