Intralytix won a U.S. Army Phase I STTR contract to support Phase II development of a bacteriophage-based probiotic dietary supplement that could help reduce the incidence and severity of Shigella infections. Intralytix holds a patent covering the use of phages to reduce bacterial colonization in the GI and nasal tracts.
The company’s CSO, Alexander Sulakvelidze, Ph.D., admits that using bacteriophages as probiotic/nutraceutical constituents represents a novel concept but says, “we believe this application fits into the definition of a probiotic adopted by the Food and Agriculture Organizaiton of the UN and the WHO.”
Intralytix CEO, John Wolszyn, adds that data from the U.S. army-funded project will also enable the company to develop a completely new line of phage-based products for its portfolio.
The U.S. Army contract is Intralytix’ third for the development of phage-based products. In June 2009, Intralytix won a contract to develop a bacteriophage-based food safety product for reducing or eliminating pathogenic Salmonella and Shigella contamination of fruits, vegetables, and other food products. In November 2008, the company was awarded a 2009 Army Commercialization Pilot Program (CPP) grant to support the development of a phage-based technology for eliminating or significantly reducing contamination of fruits, vegetables, and red meat by E. coli 0157:H7. Intralytix hopes that this product, EcoShield, would receive regulatory clearance this year.
Intralytix-marketed phage-based product, ListShield™, was registered in 2008 as an antimicrobial against Listeria monocytogenes contamination. Developed for use in food processing and handing establishments, ListShield represents the first natural phage-based product used as environmental decontaminant to achieve Environmental Protection Agency clearance, the company claims. The product had previously been granted FDA approval as a food additive on ready-to-eat foods, representing the first and only phage-based food additive approved by the FDA.