The FINANCIAL– Leaps by Bayer, the impact investment arm of Bayer AG, today announced a USD 8 million financial investment in US-based clinical-stage medical dermatology biotech company Azitra Inc. The partnership will focus on developing cutting-edge skin products using engineered and wild-type bacteria for biotherapeutic, over-the-counter (OTC) and cosmetic applications leveraging Azitra’s technology platform for both live therapeutic products (LBPs) and consumer programs. Existing investors, Bios Partners and Connecticut Innovations also participated in the round.
“Leaps by Bayer is investing in transformative technologies with the ability to move the paradigm from treatment to cure”, said Jürgen Eckhardt, Head of Leaps by Bayer “The human microbiome is a universe within and on our bodies that is currently poorly understood but provides opportunities for breakthroughs in the broader healthcare sector. Azitra’s cutting edge microbiome technology platform has the potential to address multiple issues of the human skin.”
Cure through microbiome health is one of Bayer’s 10 leaps on which to focus investment. Recent scientific publications suggest that microorganisms such as bacteria and especially skin-friendly bacteria, commonly referred to as skin microbiome, can significantly contribute to the protection of the skin from hostile invasions. Additional positive effects include supporting the recovery from skin diseases such as atopic dermatitis, acne, and rosacea, and may also accelerate wound healing.
Building on a joint development agreement announced in January 2020, Bayer and Azitra are collaborating to leverage Azitra’s proprietary panel of Staphylococcus epidermidis strains to identify potential candidates for the treatment of adverse skin conditions and diseases.
“Our collaboration with Azitra will draw on a deep understanding of the skin microbiome to deliver breakthrough natural solutions for healthy skin. Developing science-based products to help consumers take care of their skin is an excellent expression of what we mean with our purpose: Science for a better life”, Heiko Schipper, Member of the Board of Management of Bayer AG and President of Bayer Consumer Health, comments on the investment.
Azitra’s versatile platform technology leverages proteomics, genetic engineering and the skin microbiome to develop therapeutic products for cancer therapy associated skin rashes, targeted orphan indications such as Netherton syndrome and atopic dermatitis.
“Azitra is excited to continue our Bayer partnership with this investment from Leaps by Bayer to advance our patented microbiome technology and demonstrate its potential for LBPs and the consumer market,” said Richard Andrews, President and Chief Executive Officer of Azitra. “Bayer will provide valuable strategic insights for our consumer product development while we continue to move our therapeutic candidates into clinical testing for dermatologic indications.”