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  • Writer's pictureEscalate Life Sciences

Lytica Snags CARB-X Funding for Antibacterial Peptide Research

Lytica Therapeutics secured $5.3 million in funding to support the development of antibacterial peptides with broad activity against multidrug-resistant bacteria.

The funding was awarded by CARB-X (Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria Biopharmaceutical Accelerator), a consortium led by Boston University and funded by a global partnership that is dedicated to addressing the threat of drug-resistant bacteria. Cambridge, Mass.-based Lytica is developing antibacterial peptides to treat drug-resistant infections in the lungs and other parts of the body and could receive up to $11.6 million in additional funding if the project achieves certain development milestones, for a potential total of $16.9 million. Lytica’s direct-acting large molecule therapeutics target infections caused by multidrug-resistant Gram-negative pathogens, including A. baumannii and P. aeruginosa.

The CARB-X funding is aimed at antimicrobial peptides, which are seen as having therapeutic potential against multidrug-resistant bacterial infections. At this point though, the clinical use of antimicrobial peptides is limited due to toxicity and efficacy issues. Lytica though has proprietary technology that is aimed at overcoming these limitations. The company’s lead compound, called Stapled Antimicrobial Peptides (StAMPs), “display potent activity against multidrug-resistant bacteria” and have wide therapeutic potential, CARB-X said. If the project is successful, CARB-X believes it could produce treatments for a wide range of serious infections including lung, urinary tract, and intra-abdominal infections, and be administered in a number of different modes of delivery including IV infusion and inhalation. The CARB-X-funded project is currently in the hit-to-lead phase of development.

Lytica Chief Executive Officer Jim LaTorre said he is grateful CARB-X provided funding for the StAMP drug development program. StAMPs, LaTorre said, have shown the ability to treat highly drug-resistant bacterial specimens.

“Through the support of CARB-X, we hope to continue working on the translation of these promising new therapeutic candidates,” LaTorre said in a statement.

Erin Duffy, head of research and development at CARB-X, said there is an urgent need for new approaches to targeting drug-resistant infections, which kill approximately 700,000 people per year. While the Lytica project is in the early stages of development, Duffy said if it proves successful, then the Lytica program “could represent a tremendous improvement in the treatment of multidrug-resistant Gram-negative pathogens.”

CARB-X’s goal is to provide up to $500 million in financial support to support innovative antibiotics and other therapeutics, vaccines, and rapid diagnostics. Since its launch, CARB-X has supported 56 projects and has provided more than $189.3 million in non-dilutive funding. The funds awarded to Lytica come about two weeks after CARB-X provided funds to Austin, Texas-based Pattern Bioscience for the development of a new rapid diagnostic for drug-resistant bacterial infection. The test will be able to provide health professionals with vital information about which pathogen is causing the infection and which antibiotic is most likely to cure the infection.

Written by: Alex Keown

Published on: Feb 18, 2020

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