Phase Genomics: $1.5 Million Funding Raised From Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

By Amit Chowdhry • Mar 7, 2024

Phase Genomics – a leading innovator at the forefront of genomics technology development – announced $1.5 million in new funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to fuel a new antimicrobial discovery platform.

Utilizing the power of lysins, phage-derived proteins that selectively kill specific bacteria and archaea, the program addresses two immediate threats that will shape the next century: a growing global antibiotic resistance crisis and the challenge of reducing global greenhouse gas emissions.

The foundation of this effort rests on Phase Genomics’ proprietary global phage atlas, developed with support from the Gates Foundation and the NIH. Under this project, Phase Genomics will deploy its platform to develop antimicrobial agents that bypass resistance against Campylobacter infections and methanogenic archaea in ruminants that drive global methane emissions.

Derived from bacteriophage (or phage) genomes, lysins are specific lytic proteins that kill bacteria by dismantling the cell wall structure, sparing off-target healthy microbes that are often collateral damage in traditional, systemic antibiotic treatment. And lysin-based antibiotics are well-suited for rapid, scalable biomanufacturing and deployment. Targeted bacteria are also less likely to develop resistance to lysins than both traditional antibiotics and intact phages, providing a sustainable and durable framework to counter the accelerating antibiotic resistance threat.

This new platform builds on data from Phase Genomics’ bacteriophage discovery engine – which holds one of the largest and most comprehensive collections of phage-microbe interactions containing hundreds of thousands of new host-resolved phage genomes. And this continuously growing phage interactome atlas is primed for the rapid discovery of wide-ranging classes of antimicrobial lysins derived from phages.

This platform is superior to other approaches in both scale and accuracy, simultaneously resolving microbial targets and the phages that infect them, with each pair containing a potential target-specific lysin candidate. And Phase Genomics’ ProxiMeta-powered phage atlas forms a deep well of target bacterial pathogens and new candidate biologics for tackling emerging drug-resistant pathogens and environmental biothreats.

This year-long project also marks a first-of-its-kind collaboration between Phase Genomics and Lumen Bioscience, who will assess lysin bioactivity in their robust and scalable microbial expression system.


“Our work at the frontier of microbiome research has unlocked a wealth of new insights on phages, the viruses that infect bacteria. Now, with support from the Gates Foundation, we’re harnessing our global phage database with the goal of improving human and environmental health and providing a critical alternative to traditional antibiotics. The need for breakthrough therapeutics to combat the growing AMR crisis is urgent. We’ve built the right technology to identify and engineer lysin candidates primed to combat microbes both in environmental settings as well as emerging AMR biothreats and help overcome the industry-wide inertia facing novel antibiotic development.”

  • Ivan Liachko, PhD, founder and CEO of Phase Genomics