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Belgium company discovers a new class of antibiotics, treats all MRSA strains

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The Mechelen, Belgium biotech company, Galapagos, says they discovered an entirely new class of antibiotics that may offer treatment against multiple drug-resistant infections, including 100% of all drug resistant Staphylococcus aureus, including MRSA, according to a company news release Nov. 26.

According to the release, the propriety antibiotic works by inhibiting the target DNA pol IIIα, an enzyme present in all bacteria and essential for their growth; this target is absent in humans. The novel mode of action - inhibition of DNA pol IIIα - may be used to explore a variety of novel antibiotics, targeting bacteria for which resistance to current antibiotics has emerged.

Using this novel target, Galapagos has selected a first candidate antibiotic, CAM-1, to enter drug development. CAM-1 was tested against more than 250 different bacterial strains and effectively killed 100% of all drug resistant S. aureus, including MRSA. CAM-1 shows better efficacy than standard antibiotics, as shown by in vivo bacterial infection models. Galapagos aims to enter the clinic in the first quarter 2014, with a Proof of Concept study thereafter.

Chief Scientific Officer of Galapagos, Dr. Piet Wigerinck said, “Our antibiotics have a novel mode of action which brings all tested MRSA strains to a complete halt. Combined with a diagnostic test, these compounds could bring a real solution to MRSA infections.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a type of staph bacteria that is resistant to certain antibiotics called beta-lactams. These antibiotics include methicillin and other more common antibiotics such as oxacillin, penicillin, and amoxicillin. In the community, most MRSA infections are skin infections. More severe or potentially life-threatening MRSA infections occur most frequently among patients in healthcare settings.

Treatment of MRSA may include incision, drainage (depending on the type of infection) and antibiotic therapy.

According to WebMD, bactrim and vancomycin are often the first drugs used. Other options are clindamycin, minocycline, Tygacil, Cubicin, Zyvox, and Synercid. Some of these antibiotics are only available intravenously. Unfortunately, there is emerging antibiotic resistance being seen with some of these medications.

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