Home Colorectal Cancer BARDA and Locus in tie-up to tackle UTIs with phages

BARDA and Locus in tie-up to tackle UTIs with phages


The biotech’s crPhage technology works by targeting the DNA of specific bacteria, destroying their cells while leaving non-target bacteria in the human body unaffected. 

The deal marks another milestone for Locus on the phage front following its announcement of its US$818M deal with Johnson & Johnson in 2019​ and the start of its Phase 1 clinical trial earlier this year.

Cost-reimbursement contract

The Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), part US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), will provide up to US$77m in funding to Locus as part of a US$144m program to support Phase 2 and 3 clinical trials and other activities required to seek marketing approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for LBP-EC01.

Joseph Nixon, senior vice president of business development at Locus Biosciences, said the partnership with BARDA is a cost-reimbursement contract. Locus is responsible for all product development work and that agency will reimburse Locus for the majority of the costs incurred. BARDA will also contribute expertise in an advisory capacity, he said. 

“We are gaining a substantial amount of funding support that will allow us to take the crPhage program targeting E. coli all the way to the commercial market.”

E. coli threat

LBP-EC01 has dual mechanism of action, utilizing the natural lytic activity of the bacteriophage along with the DNA-targeting activity of CRISPR-Cas3, said Locus.

This dual mechanism makes LBP-EC01 significantly more effective at killing E. coli cells than corresponding natural bacteriophages, as shown both in laboratory tests and in small animal models of urinary tract infection, claims the developer. The mechanism also makes LBP-EC01 effective in killing E. coli strains regardless of whether they are resistant to antibiotics, it added.


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