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CT biotech Azitra part of $15M project to develop mosquito repellant

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    FARMINGTON, Connecticut (HBJ) — Connecticut biotech startup Azitra Inc., which is developing dermatological medicine that leverages natural skin bacteria, is part of a group working on a $15 million U.S. defense project to create an enhanced mosquito repellant.

Along with Azitra, Gingko Bioworks, Florida International University (FIU) and Latham Biopharma Group received the $15 million contract from the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

The four entities are trying to create a safe product that blocks mosquito-attracting chemicals the skin produces.

“The resulting product is expected to have significant military, consumer, and global health applications,” a statement from the four groups said. “Mosquito-borne diseases, such as malaria and Zika virus, account for over a million deaths worldwide.”

Azitra, which was established in Farmington before moving to Branford last January, will contribute its extensive scientific knowledge of the skin microbiome to develop and characterize various bacterial strains, a statement from the four groups said.

The company will also take the lead in formulating, packaging, and making microbiome products related to the project.

Azitra was founded by Yale scientists in 2014 at UConn’s Technology Incubator Program (TIP) accelerator in Farmington.

Last January the company moved into 12,000 square feet of lab and office space in Branford.

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