AlamX LLC Technology to Fight Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria Gets U.S. Patent
Tucson, AZ – Dec 19, 2000
A U.S. patent issued recently for an agent created at Southern Methodist University in Dallas that may revitalize once-powerful drugs now sidelined by resistant bacteria.
U.S. Patent No. 6,156,745 issued to Research Corporation Technologies, which formed AlamX LLC (pronounced uh-LAM-ex) this year with SMU. The two founded the company on the work of SMU chemistry professor John Buynak, who has created a variety of compounds to help fight beta-lactam-resistant bacteria. Buynak also devised new methods for commercial-scale production of these compounds. This patent protects his novel penicillin derivatives that are potent inhibitors of beta-lactamase enzymes.
Beta-lactams, which include penicillins and cephalosporins, have been among the most useful of all antibiotics, but overuse and misuse have endangered their effectiveness. Some bacteria strains can now inactivate whole groups of beta-lactams with the enzyme beta-lactamase, allowing bacterial infection to grow unchecked.
To overcome bacterial resistance to beta-lactams, current drugs combine a beta-lactam antibiotic and a beta-lactamase inhibitor. Most of today’s products target mainly one enzyme class. The AlamX compounds inhibit different, and in some cases multiple, classes of beta-lactamases. A two-component drug containing an AlamX inhibitor and a beta-lactam antibiotic has the potential to treat a broad spectrum of microorganisms for which no effective therapies exist.
Currently, AlamX is matching several of the most promising compounds with existing antibiotics and screening these combinations against a panel of resistant microorganisms.
RCT’s Christopher Martin, who manages AlamX, said the market for prescription anti-infective drugs exceeded more than $20 billion in 1999. A product effective against several classes of beta-lactamases could generate annual sales in excess of $1 billion worldwide.
Chris Martin at RCT, (520) 748-4400, fax (520) 748-0025.