Phytera Awarded SBIR Grant to Develop New Tools for

Phytera, Inc. has received a Phase I Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to develop new tools for antibacterial drug discovery. The grant will support the design and development of mutant strains of bacteria that have been genetically modified to delete multiple drug resistance (MDR) pumps. Such MDR pump "knockouts" have been shown to display increased sensitivity to a variety of antimicrobial agents and offer advantages in screening for new antibiotics. "This SBIR grant is an important endorsement of our program to develop and apply our innovative MDR pump knockouts to broadly screen pharmaceutical candidates," said Malcolm Morville, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Phytera. "Phytera is actively applying its MDR pump knockout technology in the anti- fungal area in its collaboration with Eli Lilly & Co. for the discovery of novel anti-fungal agents. This SBIR grant supports the expansion of our MDR knockout program in bacterial infectious disease applications, where we believe this approach will offer substantial benefit in discovery." Dr. Morville noted that the MDR pump knockouts are part of Phytera's integrated Combinatorial Drug Discovery Program, which combines the Company's diverse plant and marine microbial cultures with its high-throughput screening and combinatorial chemistry systems for the identification and optimization of new candidate drugs. MDR pumps, which defend many pathogens from antimicrobial drugs by expelling the drug from the cell, are responsible for a significant percentage of drug resistance in both bacteria and fungi. Because of the presence of MDR pumps in strains of pathogens historically used as screening tools, whole classes of potential antimicrobial chemical compounds may have been overlooked. To date, Phytera has generated a proprietary library of fungal and bacterial mutants that have one or more of their MDR pumps selectively inactivated (or "knocked out"). Included in this library are knockouts of several major bacterial and fungal pathogens, including Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli and Candida albicans. Phytera's efforts have demonstrated that screens using these MDR knockout strains are capable of detecting the antimicrobial activity of chemical compounds that remains undetected in screens using unaltered pathogen strains with normal MDR pumps. Testing of Phytera's chemical diversity libraries from plant and marine microbial cultures in its MDR pump knockout screens promises to uncover novel antimicrobial drugs free from current resistance problems. The emergence of resistance to antibacterial drugs represents a growing worldwide clinical problem that is rapidly escalating towards a major medical crisis. Gram-positive pathogens are particularly problematic because strains have emerged that are resistant to several different classes of antibiotics. The recent detection of a strain of the common human pathogen, Staphylococcus aureus, that is resistant to vancomycin, a powerful antibiotic regarded by many as the last line of antibacterial defense, strongly reinforces the fact that drug resistance has become a critical clinical issue. In order to address this, there is a clear need to discover new classes of potent antibacterial drugs that are not susceptible to the resistance mechanisms seen with current agents. Phytera, Inc. is a biotechnology company headquartered in Worcester, Massachusetts, with wholly owned subsidiaries in Sheffield, U.K., Copenhagen, Denmark and Tastrup, Denmark. The Company is applying novel technology platforms to the identification and optimization of new lead structures and drug candidates for pharmaceutical application. Phytera has allied its plant and marine microbial culture technologies with innovative high-throughput screening and combinatorial chemistry capabilities to create an integrated, proprietary Combinatorial Drug Discovery Program. Infectious disease products from the program are currently in preclinical development. Additionally, Phytera seeks to leverage its technologies via external collaborations and to date has signed agreements with Nycomed Amersham plc, Tsumura & Co., Galileo Laboratories, Inc., NeuroSearch A/S, Chiron Corporation and Eli Lilly & Co. ots Original Text Service: Phytera, Inc. Internet: Contact: Dr. Malcolm Morville, President and CEO of Phytera, Inc. (USA) 508-792-6800, or Robert Gottlieb of Feinstein Kean Partners Inc. (USA) 617-577- 8110

Klíčová slova

Praha, Česká republika (ce)


Přihlásit k odběru

Materiály označené značkou Protext nejsou součástí zpravodajského servisu ČTK a nelze je publikovat pod její značkou. Jde o komerční sdělení zadavatele, který je ve zprávě označen a který za ně nese plnou odpovědnost.