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AlamX LLC Targeting Bacterial Resistance to Beta-Lactam Antibiotics


Tucson, AZ – Aug 14, 2000

Research Corporation Technologies and Southern Methodist University in Dallas have formed a company to further develop new agents that overcome antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

RCT and SMU founded AlamX LLC (pronounced uh-LAM-ex) 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.

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.

Researchers have identified more than 250 different beta-lactamases that fit into four structural classes–A, B, C and D. To overcome bacterial resistance to beta-lactams, current drugs combine a beta-lactam antibiotic and a beta-lactamase inhibitor. The first such drug, SmithKline Beecham’s Augmentin™ contains amoxicillin and clavulanic acid. Most of today’s products target mainly the class A enzyme.

The AlamX compounds inhibit different, and in some cases, multiple classes of beta-lactamases. Initially, AlamX will match several of the most promising Buynak compounds with existing antibiotics and screen these combinations against a panel of resistant microorganisms. A two-component drug containing an AlamX inhibitor and a beta-lactam antibiotic have the potential to treat a broad spectrum of microorganisms for which no effective therapies currently exist.

RCT’s Christopher Martin, who manages AlamX, said the market for prescription anti-infective drugs exceeded more than $14 billion in 1998. A product effective agains several classes of beta-lactamases could generate annual sales in excess of $1 billion worldwide.


Martin at RCT, (520) 748-4400 phone, (520) 748-0025 fax.