Elanco, EnBiotix to collaborate on engineered phage technology

If successful, endeavor could result in potential alternatives for traditional antibiotics in animals.

Elanco Animal Health, a division of Eli Lilly & Co., and EnBiotix Inc., have announced a collaboration to explore the application of EnBiotix’s engineered phage technology in specific animal health targets.

If successful, the companies said, this endeavor could result in potential alternatives for traditional antibiotics in animals.

“This collaboration furthers Elanco’s commitment to aggressively seek and develop antibiotic alternatives as outlined in our comprehensive antibiotic stewardship plan,” said Jeff Simmons, president of Elanco Animal Health. “Innovative research will be key to protecting both human and animal health while safeguarding antibiotics for future generations.”

Phage therapy is an alternative and/or complementary approach to traditional antibiotics for treating bacterial infections. Bacteriophages are naturally-occurring viruses that only infect bacteria and not humans. They self-replicate inside the bacteria, harnessing bacterial machinery for DNA and protein synthesis and ultimately killing the bacteria by lysis of the cell.

Under the terms of the agreement, Elanco and EnBiotix will collaborate in animal health therapeutic areas to identify and optimize drug candidates employing EnBiotix’s proprietary engineered phage platform. Elanco will provide research funding and will have an option to license and commercialize products arising from the collaboration. All non-animal health uses for EnBiotix’s technology platforms are excluded from the agreement.

“Providing alternatives to current antibiotic treatments is a key health objective and we are excited to apply EnBiotix’s engineered phage technology platform in the animal health field with Elanco,” said Jeffrey D. Wager, chairman and CEO of EnBiotix. “We have been impressed by Elanco’s comprehensive antibiotic stewardship plan and they represent an ideal partner for EnBiotix in this field.”

Elanco provides comprehensive products and knowledge services to improve animal health and food-animal production in more than 70 countries around the world. With a global presence of approximately 6,500 people and offices in more than 40 countries, Elanco anticipates, serves and supports the diverse and evolving needs of its customers--from veterinarians to food producers to all those concerned with animal health--to help them address the challenges of a diverse and changing world.

EnBiotix is an engineered antibiotics company deploying novel systems and synthetic biology technologies developed by Prof. James J. Collins, the Termeer Professor of Medical Engineering & Science Professor, Department of Biological Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. These technologies enable the development of both novel antibiotics and potentiators of existing antibiotics which have the potential to transform their spectrum of activity and resistance profile. With drug-resistant and drug-tolerant infections rapidly becoming a global health crisis, EnBiotix’s product pipeline addresses a wide range of acute and chronic infections to significantly impact the lives of patients.

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