A new Columbus-based company has been formed based on research from Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Lattice Biotech is leveraging a discovery that disrupts bacterial biofilms, creating a more effective environment for antibiotics to eradicate chronic infections.
Biofilm infections, such as pneumonia in cystic fibrosis patients, chronic wound infections, chronic draining ear infections and infections caused by inadequately sterilized medical equipment, affect millions of children and adults throughout the world each year. Biofilm-based infections are highly resistant to antibiotics and have a significant ability to evade normal defenses against bacteria.
“Current antibiotics don’t affect biofilms. However, working with Nationwide Children’s scientists Lauren Bakaletz, PhD, and Steve Goodman, PhD, we’ve identified a method to penetrate and break down bacterial biofilms,” states Nick Henderson, CEO of Lattice Biotech. “Our solution is a new way of treating biofilm infections by either attacking them directly or clearing the path for conventional antibiotics to work more effectively against the infection.”
“Once the biofilm matrix is destroyed, we’ve basically removed the fortress where the bacteria had been hiding,” explains Dr. Bakaletz, director of the Center for Microbial Pathogenesis at Nationwide Children’s. “With the biofilm destabilized, bacteria become much more vulnerable to the effects of antibiotics.”
The first clinical trial of Lattice Biotech’s therapeutic antibody will be designed for cystic fibrosis patients. “CF patients are a meaningful population for a clinical study due to the debilitating chronic lung infections these individuals so often experience,” says Dr. Bakaletz. “While this therapy would not affect the genetic causes of cystic fibrosis, it does have the potential to have a major impact on quality of life and life expectancy.”
Lattice Biotech currently employs six scientists, with plans to expand to a staff of nearly 20 scientists, technicians and administrative staff. In addition, some work will be sourced through The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s, Applied Biomolecular Technologies (ABT), Molecular Technologies Laboratories and potentially other Ohio-based companies.
“While this new company will be beneficial to the local and state ecosystem, we feel the ultimate winners of the work being advanced by Lattice Biotech will be patients with cystic fibrosis and those experiencing biofilm-based chronic conditions,” says Mr. Henderson.
“We are very excited about the impact that this technology could have in the treatment of chronic infections and Lattice is an ideal partner driving the technology forward on this front. We also recognize that this is a platform technology and may have significant implications in industries far beyond health care,” says Matt McFarland, RPh, PhD, director of the Office of Technology Commercialization at Nationwide Children’s.
The biofilm disruption technology has applications not just for human health, but has practical potential for veterinary medicine and to sterilize medical equipment Dr. Bakaletz notes. “Destabilizing biofilms to make bacteria more susceptible to antibiotics reduces the duration of antibiotic use to clear an infection and reduces the need for broad spectrum antibiotics – ultimately shortening the opportunity for bacteria to mutate and develop antibiotic resistance.”
“The Lattice Biotech therapeutic antibody is fundamentally different and has the potential to be a breakthrough technology in the post-antibiotic era,” states Mr. Henderson.
For more information about Lattice Biotech, contact Nick Henderson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lattice Biotech was the recipient of a phase II award from the Ohio Third Frontier Technology Validation and Start-up Fund. The goal of this fund is to create greater economic growth in Ohio based on start-up companies that commercialize technologies developed by Ohio institutions of higher education and other Ohio not-for-profit research institutions.