CARB-X funds Lytica Therapeutics to develop antibacterial peptides to treat drug-resistant infections in the lungs and other parts of the body

CARB-X funds Lytica Therapeutics to develop antibacterial peptides to treat drug-resistant infections in the lungs and other parts of the body

 Lytica’s direct-acting large molecule therapeutics target infections caused by multidrug-resistant Gram-negative pathogens, including A. baumannii and P. aeruginosa

(BOSTON: February 18, 2020) – CARB-X is awarding Lytica Therapeutics, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA, up to US$5.3 million in non-dilutive funding to develop antibacterial peptides with broad activity against multidrug-resistant bacteria.  The company 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.

“There is an urgent need for innovative therapeutics and approaches to drug-resistant infections that, today, are killing some 700,000 people around the world each year,” said Erin Duffy, Chief of Research and Development of CARB-X, which is based at Boston University School of Law. “The Lytica project is in the early phases of development, but if successful and ultimately approved for use in patients, it could represent tremendous improvement in the treatment of multidrug-resistant Gram-negative pathogens.”

Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) are a natural family of peptides with therapeutic potential in the fight against multidrug-resistant bacterial infections. Their clinical use is currently limited mostly to topical applications, due to issues related to toxicity, stability, and efficacy. Lytica’s proprietary stapling technology aims to overcome these hurdles. The company has produced lead compounds, called Stapled Antimicrobial Peptides (StAMPs), which display potent activity against multidrug-resistant bacteria, stability against enzymatic degradation, and wide therapeutic potential. If successful, the project 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 project is currently in the hit-to-lead phase of development.

Lytica’s CEO, Jim LaTorre, said: “We are very gratified that CARB-X has chosen to fund our StAMP drug development program. StAMPs 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.”

Supporting innovation to address the global superbug crisis

CARB-X is a consortium led by Boston University and funded by a global partnership. CARB-X is investing up to $500 million between 2016-2021 to support the development of new antibiotics, rapid diagnostics, vaccines and other life-saving products.  The goal is to support projects through the early phases of development – through Phase 1 for therapeutics – so that they will attract additional private or public support for further clinical development and approval for use in patients.

Funding for the Lytica project is provided by the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), the Wellcome TrustGermany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), and the UK Global Antimicrobial Resistance Innovation Fund (GAMRIF).  GAMRIF is contributing to the funding of the project because of its additional potential for use in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). There is prevalence of multidrug-resistant Gram-negative infections, particularly those caused by A. baumanni and P. aeruginosa, in LMICs with evidence of increasing rates of particularly A. baumanni. Lytica’s project has the potential for the development of treatments that could be used in countries where refrigeration is not available.  The company also intends to investigate how to reduce the cost of this treatment and will explore topical applications, which could support future access and use in LMICs.

The CARB-X portfolio is the world’s largest and most diverse antibacterial development portfolio with 38 active projects – antibiotics, vaccines, rapid diagnostics and other life-saving products – in five countries focused on addressing the global rise of drug-resistant bacteria.

Since its launch in 2016, CARB-X has announced 57 awards exceeding $193. 04 million, with the potential of additional funds if project milestones are met, to accelerate the development of antibacterial products. These funds are in addition to investments made by the companies themselves. The CARB-X pipeline will continuously evolve, as projects progress and others fail for a variety of reasons.

This news release is supported by the Cooperative Agreement Number IDSEP160030 from ASPR/BARDA and by awards from Wellcome Trust, Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the UK Global Antimicrobial Resistance Innovation Fund (GAMRIF). The contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the HHS Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response, or other CARB-X funders. 

Media Contacts:

Jennifer Robinson

Arianna Finnegan

About CARB-X
Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria Biopharmaceutical Accelerator (CARB-X) is a global non-profit partnership dedicated to accelerating early development antibacterial R&D to address the rising global threat of drug-resistant bacteria. CARB-X is led by Boston University and funding is provided by the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), part of the Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response (ASPR) in the US Department of Health and Human Services, the Wellcome Trust, a global charity based in the UK working to improve health globally, Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the UK Department of Health and Social Care’s Global Antimicrobial Resistance Innovation Fund (GAMRIF), the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and with in-kind support from National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the US National Institutes of Health (NIH). CARB-X is investing up to $500 million from 2016-2021 to support innovative antibiotics and other therapeutics, vaccines, and rapid diagnostics . CARB-X supports the world’s largest and most innovative pipeline of preclinical products against drug-resistant infections. CARB-X is headquartered at Boston University School of Law.  Follow us on Twitter @CARB_X.

About Lytica Therapeutics
Lytica Therapeutics, Inc. is a biotechnology company focused on developing novel peptide therapeutics. At Lytica, we are tapping into a natural reserve of compounds known as antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) to develop therapeutic solutions that tackle the rising problem of antibiotic resistance. Using our proprietary technology, we have created a novel class of antibiotics, called StAMPs, with potent activity and a reduced propensity for bacterial resistance. We believe that our unique pipeline will help expand our antibiotic arsenal to combat the most drug resistant bacterial infections.  Lytica is based in Cambridge, MA, USA.

The US Department of Health and Human Services works to enhance and protect the health and well-being of all Americans, providing for effective health and human services and fostering advances in medicine, public health, and social services. Within HHS, ASPR’s mission is to save lives and protect Americans from 21st century health security threats. ASPR leads the nation’s medical and public health preparedness for, response to, and recovery from disasters and public health emergencies. BARDA provides a comprehensive, integrated, portfolio approach to the advanced research and development, innovation, acquisition, and manufacturing of medical countermeasures – vaccines, drugs, therapeutics, diagnostic tools, and non-pharmaceutical products for public health emergency threats. These threats include chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear agents, pandemic influenza, and emerging infectious diseases. NIH is the primary US federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. NIAID conducts and supports research — at NIH, throughout the United States, and worldwide — to study the causes of infectious and immune-mediated diseases, and to develop better means of preventing, diagnosing and treating these illnesses.

About Wellcome Trust
Wellcome exists to improve health for everyone by helping great ideas to thrive. We’re a global charitable foundation, both politically and financially independent. We support scientists and researchers, take on big problems, fuel imaginations and spark debate. The Wellcome Trust is a charity registered in England and Wales, no. 210183. Its sole trustee is The Wellcome Trust Limited, a company registered in England and Wales, no. 2711000 (whose registered office is at 215 Euston Road, London NW1 2BE, UK).

About BMBF
Education and research are the foundations for our future. The promotion of education, science and research by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) represents an important contribution to securing Germany’s prosperity. Education and research are a Federal Government policy priority, which is reflected in the development of the funding it is making available to these fields. 

About the Global AMR Innovation Fund (GAMRIF)
The Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) is the UK Government department which is responsible for helping people to live more independent, healthier lives for longer.

The partnership with CARB-X is part of DHSC’s Global Antimicrobial Resistance Innovation Fund (GAMRIF). GAMRIF was established to provide seed funding for innovative research and development, specifically in neglected and underinvested areas, in the field of AMR. GAMRIF is a £50m UK Aid investment, which means all projects funded must support research primarily and directly for the benefit of people in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). The Fund takes a ‘One Health’ approach, seeking to invest in potential solutions to reduce the threat of AMR in humans, animals, fish and the environment. The Fund seeks to leverage additional global funding through interaction with international government bodies, public-private partnerships, product development partnerships, global funding mechanisms and global fora.

About Boston University 
Founded in 1839, Boston University is an internationally recognized institution of higher education and research. With more than 33,000 students, it is the fourth-largest independent university in the United States. BU consists of 17 schools and colleges, along with a number of multi-disciplinary centers and institutes integral to the University’s research and teaching mission. In 2012, BU joined the Association of American Universities (AAU), a consortium of 62 leading research universities in the United States and Canada. For further information, please contact Jeremy Thompson at