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Published on 21 April 2008

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Compound offers hope in HAI fight


Trials of a compound belonging to a new class of antibacterial proteins could offer hope in the fight against hospital- and community-acquired infection, according to data presented at a European conference.

PT1.2 belongs to a class of proteins called SASPs that act by binding to bacterial DNA and halting replication and gene expression, resulting in rapid cell death.

The results were presented at the European Conference on Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ECCMID), held in Barcelona, Spain, on 19–22 April.

Dr Heather Fairhead, founder and CEO of UK-based drug developer Phico Therapeutics, said PT1.2 was the firm’s lead compound against methycillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

She said the firm now intended to take PT1.2 into clinical trials using a delivery platform technology called SASPject.

She went on: “The study, carried out in conjunction with the UK’s Health Protection Agency, showed that SASP was rapidly bactericidal against all 10 different MRSA isolates gathered from across the US.

“Indeed, in the speed-of-kill assay SASP caused a >99.9% drop in viability within two minutes against the 10^5 culture and a >99.9% drop in viability within 10 minutes against the 10^7 culture.

“This data gives us the confidence to take PT1.2 into the clinic.

“Furthermore, our additional SASPject candidates are showing potential against E coli, and C difficile with SASPject targeted to other drug-resistant bacteria in development.”

Phico Therapeutics

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