Intralytix has received a US Army Phase I STTR grant to support the development of a new treatment to manage shigella infection, a cause of diarrhoeal disease that is of particular concern to the army.

The award will enable Intralytix to begin proof-of-concept studies to test naturally occurring bacteriophages, delivered as part of a probiotic diet, to reduce the incidence and severity of shigellosis.

The bacterium has been estimated to cause 165 million worldwide cases of shigellosis a year leading to 1.1 million deaths annually. Of diagnosed cases, approximately 163 million occur in developing countries including countries where US troops are stationed.

Intralytix’s CEO John Woloszyn said that in addition to supporting development, the conmpany believes that data obtained during the grant will enable it to develop a completely new line of phage-based products for Intralytix’s portfolio.

“If the studies performed during our Phase I project are successful – as we fully anticipate – they will provide a strong basis for moving forward with Phase II grant support from the Army,” Woloszyn said.

Intralytix has previously been awarded grants to support the development of other phage-based products, including food additives that protect food from contamination with Escherichia coli and Salmonella.