08:31pm Tuesday 12 November 2019

Griffith provides hope for a new antibiotic

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The development of a new drug to be used in the war against antibiotic-resistant infections is the expected outcome following a collaboration between a pharmaceutical company, Creative Antibiotics Sweden AB and a leading Griffith
University Institute.

The new compound, called INP11252 has been identified after a screening project by Griffith’s Eskitis Institute for Cell and Molecular Therapies and has been
licensed to Creative Antibiotics for further development.

INP11252 disables certain bacteria but does not kill them. Termed a “virulence blocker,” the
compound disarms the harmful bacteria for the body’s natural defences to clear the infection. This could reduce the risk of bacteria developing resistance to antibiotics.

To date, severe clinical problems have arisen from the emergence of antibiotic resistance in bacteria to all commercially available antibiotics. The lack of new antibacterial agents to challenge this threat is global, and the demand for new antibiotics is high.

Pseudomonas aeruginosa, the target of INP11252, is one of the most challenging bacteria to beat. It can cause severe infections in the urinary tract and deep burn wounds and is harmful for cystic fibrosis patients.

The Eskitis Institute will produce more of INP11252 by extracting it from raw plant material from Papua New Guinea, supplied through established contacts. It will be
used for further studies of its anti-virulent effects in animals, in preparation for safety studies and clinical trials in humans.

“Resistance to antibiotics is on the rise and there are very few antibiotics against certain harmful bacteria currently in the production pipeline,” said Dr Stuart
Newman, Strategic Development Manager for the Eskitis Institute.

“Unfortunately,the antibiotics that we do have are becoming less effective against infections. This collaboration will eventually allow Creative Antibiotics to develop a new drug to combat these infections.”

In order to maintain the current critical supply of INP11252, Creative Antibiotics is funding a post doctoral scientist at the Eskitis Institute for one year. This scientist
will be dedicated to the industry project to isolate more of this important compound.

“I am very pleased that a compound discovered by the Eskitis Institute has been selected for development by Creative Antibiotics,” said Professor Ron Quinn,
Eskitis Director.

“This compound was discovered by screening the Institute’s ‘Nature Bank’ which was originally established in a collaboration with AstraZeneca and has since been refined to provide over 200,000 lead like enhanced fractions.

“Nature has provided many of today’s therapeutics and we are hopeful that this compound can be developed into a new useful antibiotic drug.”

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