New class of antibiotics in the works

UW Medicine researchers are part of a new grant from the National Institutes of Health developing drugs to treat multi-drug resistant infections like methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

Frederick Buckner, a physician-scientist in the UW Department of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and Erkang Fan, a medicinal chemist in the UW Department of Biochemistry, will work together to develop a new class of antibiotics.  The team is to receive $3 million over the next three years.  

They will collaborate with TSRL, Inc., a privately-held preclinical accelerator, based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The funding will be used to optimize lead compounds targeting the bacterial methionyl-tRNA synthetase (MetRS) enzyme, which will help overcome treating strains that are resistant to existing antibiotics, including vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE) and other drug-resistant gram-positive bacteria.

Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Infection show that there are 80,461 severe infections and 11,285 deaths due to MRSA per year in the United States and about 20,000 cases of drug-resistant Enterococcus infections responsible for 1,300 deaths. 

The grant is a Direct-to-Phase II Small Business Innovation Research grant from the National Institute of Allergy & Infectious Diseases of the NIH.

Email us if you'd like to speak with one of the researchers involved in this project. 

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