GLA looks to expedite development of nontoxic acaricide that kills ticks in seconds
Global Lyme Alliance (GLA), the leading 501(c)(3) dedicated to conquering Lyme and other tick-borne diseases through research, education and awareness, announced today that it has partnered with Manus Bio Inc. (Manus Bio), a biotechnology company based in Cambridge, Massachusetts and Augusta, Georgia, to accelerate the development of an environmentally-friendly repellent that not only keeps ticks away, but kills them in seconds.
Manus Bio’s groundbreaking product is a natural repellent based on a plant extract, and has numerous advantages over existing products using DEET, the most common active ingredient in conventional tick and insect repellents. This natural product is an FDA-approved food additive. It has a pleasant odor, is non-greasy, dries quickly and is safe for humans to ingest. Yet it also repels and kills ticks, mosquitoes, and other insects.
GLA played a critical role in helping Manus Bio secure Phase I and Phase II National Science Foundation SBIR grants to support the development of the product. “GLA has been working with Manus Bio for a number of years,” said GLA Chairman Robert Kobre, “and we continue to be impressed by their scientific abilities and unique manufacturing capabilities.”
The effectiveness of this natural product in controlling ticks has been known to scientists for several years. “This natural acaricide makes the ticks hyperactive,” explains Timothy J. Sellati, Ph.D., GLA’s Chief Scientific Officer. “Within seconds of exposure, they shake themselves to death.” Until recently, the manufacturing of this product as a tick and insect repellent was too expensive to be viable as a consumer product, since only a few grams could be harvested from several tons of plant material. Now Manus Bio, with its proprietary advanced fermentation technology, has developed an economical way to produce large quantities of this natural product, making it possible to market as a commercial product—at a competitive price.
Jeff Anderson, Manus Bio’s Chief Operating Officer, said: “GLA’s focus on Lyme and other tick-borne diseases provides enormous benefit to the community and we are pleased to join their mission. Working together, we hope to bring a new approach to preventing the transmission of these devastating diseases.”
Added Kobre: “GLA, always thinking in the best interests of the public, has been waiting to support an acaricide that is environmentally friendly and is nontoxic to humans and pets without side effects. Our plan is for Manus Bio products to be used in soaps, shampoos and sprays in order to vastly reduce the risk of contracting tick-borne diseases.”
Manus Bio hopes to have commercial products on the market based on this natural repellent within two years.