Are We At the End of the Road for Known Antibiotics?

by Robert W. Buckheit III

June 14, 2016

This week, public health authorities in the United States reacted with alarm to the discovery of colistin-resistant bacteria in an infected woman in Pennsylvania. Colistin has been the antibiotic of last resort for highly resistant infections because of the fact that resistance was unknown in the United States until now. This discovery increases the specter of un-treatable bacterial infections, and suggests that we are nearing the end of the road for the use of current antibiotic regimens. This is the first time a colistin-resistant bacteria possessing the resistance gene mrc-1 has been identified in the United States and it is highly probable that increased incidence of colistin-resistance will now be reported because of the relative ease by which bacteria spread genetic mutations responsible for resistance to antibiotics. Colistin-resistant bacteria have already been reported in Great Britain and China. The discovery highlights the need for increased resources and research to discover and develop novel, next generation antibiotics. It also reinforces the need for the responsible use of antibiotics, and the effect that agricultural antibiotic use has on the emergence of resistant bacteria capable of infecting humans. The last novel antibiotic class approved for use in humans was discovered over three decades ago.

ImQuest's scientific team will soon be traveling to Boston for the American Society of Microbiology's Microbe 2016 Conference. There, we will hear from leading academic and industry experts about novel mechanisms being discovered to combat microbial drug resistance. Enhanced basic anti-bacterial drug discovery, coupled with efficient pharmaceutical and federal development of novel products, is now crucial as our repertoire of antibiotics needs to dramatically increase. The world needs more ammunition in the fight against bacteria, and the clock is ticking.

To respond to the growing threat of antimicrobial resistance, ImQuest BioSciences has developed the MicroSENS platform to enable rapid identification of novel antibiotics with robust efficacy profiles. Our targeted microbial panels allow cost-effective screening against a range of clinically-relevant gram-positive and gram-negative organisms, including the clinically important ESKAPE pathogens, which comprise most of the known hospital- and community-acquired bacterial infections of greatest threat. These evaluations include analysis against biofilm-forming organisms and persister cells which are now understood to be responsible for a significant percentage of human bacterial infections. ImQuest can quickly move novel antibiotics from in vitro screening into standard and customized animal models. In partnership with our ToxiSENS and PharmaSENS programs, we can simultaneously develop a pilot formulation, and develop a toxicity profile to guide IND-directed studies.

We encourage and support efforts by academic and pharmaceutical groups to combat antibacterial drug resistance, and welcome you to visit our exhibition booth at ASM Microbe from June 16th to the 20th in Boston (booth #753) to learn more about our services for antibacterial product development. Please Contact Us to learn more about our ImQuestSUCCESS platform, and how we can help enhance and expedite your antimicrobial product development.

Sources: The superbug that doctors have been dreading just reached the U.S.

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