Polyphor AG (SIX: POLN) and the University of Zurich announced a publication in Nature that describes the discovery and characterization of a new class of Gram-negative antibiotics covering all priority 1 WHO/ESKAPE pathogens including multi-resistant (MDR), extensively-resistant (XDR) and colistin-resistant bacterial strains. This new class, the Outer Membrane Protein Targeting Antibiotics (OMPTA), constitutes potentially a major breakthrough in the fight against antimicrobial resistance, which is a global threat to human society and to health care systems world-wide.
The Nature paper describes the results of a major joint academic and industrial effort combining researchers at the University of Zurich, University of Basel, Biozentrum, Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule (ETH, Zurich) and Polyphor, which uncovered the mechanism of action of the new OMPTA class.
"The new OMPTA class binds dually to lipopolysaccharide and outer-membrane proteins, in particular BamA, which are both important constituents of the Gram-negative outer membrane. So far no clinical antibiotics target these key proteins, which is an unprecedented way of specifically combating life-threatening infections caused by Gram-negative bacteria" comments Professor John Robinson at the University of Zurich.
"We are proud to have discovered a novel class of antibiotics potentially addressing a major unmet medical need. We are grateful to acknowledge the invaluable support and contributions of our academic partners and would also like to mention the financial support from CTI/Innosuisse, Wellcome Trust (WT), CARB-X, and the Novo REPAIR Impact Fund," comments Daniel Obrecht, Chief Scientific Officer at Polyphor.
POL7306, a first lead molecule of the OMPTA class is now in preclinical development.