E Emerging Technologies: A New Antibiotic That Doesn't Cause Resistance?

Among all the public health threats, there is no question that antibiotic resistance champions the list. The problem of antibiotic use is paradoxical because the only treatment for some of the most deadly hospital associated infections (e.g., MRSA) is antibiotics, which, in turn, exacerbate resistance. Antibiotic resistance occurs when a bacteria loses sensitivity to a particular antibiotic after the bacteria mutates. And since antibiotics continue to be used on an increasingly larger scale, mutation is occurring more frequently. Consequently, doctors are oftentimes left without viable therapeutic options to treat patients with HAIs. At the same time, however, new antibiotics temporarily inhibit the progression of resistant gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria, and the market rewards biopharmaceutical companies aiming towards this goal.

From my experience as a financial writer covering the healthcare sector, I have discovered and featured many anti-infective developers that have placed the goal of developing anti-infective products in their sights. While Oragenics (OGEN) is attempting to combat antibiotic resistance with an untapped strain of versatile, nontoxic and effective class of antibiotics called lantibiotics, AmpliPhi Biosciences (APHB) is attempting to harness bacteriophage, a natural bacteria killer that has been used to combat deadly HAIs for decades. Today, however, I want to briefly shed light on a privately-held company called NovoBiotic Pharmaceuticals, which is reportedly developing a strain of antibiotics that destroy HAIs without resistance.

According to a recent report, NovoBiotic has discovered a novel antibiotic compound called teixobactin, which belongs to a new class of compounds that kills the target bacteria by destroying their cell walls. Although development is in early stage, the novel compound has shown promise in preclinical trials. Specifically, the compound has shown compelling activity in several models of infection. More importantly, teixobactin does not appear to cause resistance in the target bacteria. This is a landmark achievement in the development of antibiotics, as it suggests that the compound could eventually be used to target deadly HAIs - including tuberculosis and MRSA - which cause thousands of deaths every year, and cost the health care industry billions of dollars. The nice thing about teixobactin is that it offers hope that HAIs can be combatted without exacerbating antibiotic resistance. Currently, there are no safe and effective monotherapies indicated for HAIs, and the combination treatments that doctors rely upon are used in very small quantities due to the fear of antibiotic resistance.

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Disclosure: The information presented is for entertainment purposes only, and in no way should it be construed as investment advice. I am not receiving any compensation for the said article ...

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