Obulytix, a groundbreaking biotech spin-off founded by seasoned experts in phage lysin research from Ghent University and KU Leuven, is set to revolutionise the fight against antimicrobial resistance with its novel phage lysin-based antibiotics.
Antibiotics play a crucial role in modern medicine. They are widely used to treat bacterial infections, but also to protect patients with weakened immune systems, for example during cancer treatment or after organ transplantation. However, more and more bacteria are becoming resistant to available antibiotics, and we are on the verge of a public health crisis. Current estimates suggest that antibiotic-resistant bacteria could claim 10 million lives per year by 2050. Urgent action is necessary to prevent this scenario.
Obulytix has created a novel platform to develop enzymes from bacteria-killing viruses (bacteriophages) as a new way to tackle bacterial infections. These phage lysins offer many advantages over traditional antibiotics: they are very powerful at killing bacteria, act quickly, and are much less likely to induce resistance. Thanks to the application of artificial intelligence (AI), Obulytix’s platform is the most advanced of its kind.
Obulytix focuses on tackling systemic infections in patients with life-threatening conditions using this new class of lysins. The platform has the potential to create solutions for all problematic bacteria, in particular gram-negative bacteria that make up the highest unmet medical need.
The need for and confidence in Obulytix’s novel approach to antibiotic development is demonstrated by the backing of global and national investment funds: Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund, Qbic, and Gemma Frisius Fund – which is the seed capital fund of KU Leuven.
Yves Briers, CEO of Obulytix & Professor at Ghent University, said: “We have created the most performant development platform to harness phage lysins and create a pipeline of different anti-infectives. This will allow us to tackle a range of bacterial diseases and react quickly to global health needs, including potential future pandemics.”
Niklas Czeloth, Executive Director and Investment Manager at Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund, elaborated: “Highly active phage lysins, like those being developed by Obulytix, align perfectly with BIVF's strategy to invest in novel approaches to combat antimicrobial resistance. We are thrilled to support the Obulytix team in their pursuit of delivering innovative treatments for patients with high unmet medical need. Obulytix's cutting-edge, AI-assisted approach exemplifies the pioneering science that seamlessly aligns with our vision of advancing robust scientific principles from the laboratory to the patient's bedside.”
Cédric Van Nevel, Partner at Qbic, added: “We have no hesitation in supporting Obulytix, since we are confident that lysin-based antibiotics can make a significant impact on the emerging antibiotic resistance crisis, benefiting patients and healthcare providers alike.”
Bram Perdu, Investment Manager at the Gemma Frisius Fund concluded: “Our Fund’s aim is to stimulate the creation and growth of spin-off companies from research at KU Leuven. Obulytix is a great example of what can be achieved when university findings leave the academic bench to create impact on important societal challenges, and we wish them every success for the future.”