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Superbug Therapy Based on University Research in Development

MRSA bacteria (CDC)

Scanning electron micrograph image of MRSA bacteria (Janice Haney Carr, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

MGB Biopharma, a biotechnology company in Glascow, U.K., is developing a new antibiotic treatment for resistant infections including MRSA and Clostridium Difficile (C. Diff.) bugs. The company licensed the discoveries from labs at University of Strathclyde, also in Scotland, that they are developing into oral and IV -administered drugs.

C. Diff. is a bacterium that can cause symptoms ranging from diarrhea to life-threatening inflammation of the colon. Illness from C. Difficile most commonly affects older adults in hospitals or in long term care facilities and typically occurs after use of antibiotic medications. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a type of staph bacteria that does not respond to some antibiotics that are commonly used to treat staph infections.

MGB Biopharma is working on a new compound that it says is more effective in killing and preventing C. Diff. than vancomycin, a widely used treatment against this bacterium. The compound, MGB BP-3, is a drug candidate in pre-clinical development, with clinical trials now scheduled for 2012.

Strathclyde chemistry professor Colin Suckling, is principal investigator in research at the university on DNA minor groove binder technology, which is the basis of MGB BP-3. The compound acts in minor grooves, found in DNA structures, and has potential to act as an agent against bacteria such as C. Diff. and MRSA.

Colin Suckling, MGB Biopharma’s CEO Miroslav Ravic, and other research colleagues displayed a poster yesterday at the Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy with the results of MGB BP-3 tested against vancomycin on hamsters. Suckling and Strathclyde microbiologist Curtis Gemmell, a collaborator on the minor groove research, serve on MGB Biopharma’s Joint Development Committee.

Strathclyde licensed the minor groove discoveries to MGB Biopharma for development into commercial treatments. The company has been financed by an angel group led by Archangel Informal Investments Ltd. with TriCapital Ltd, Barwell plc and the Scottish Co-investment Fund.

Read more: Research Spin Off Company to Tackle Superbug Infections

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