AvidBiotics won a two year, $600,000 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from the National Institute of Allergic and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) to fund continued preclinical development of a protein-based bactericidal that specifically targets Clostridium difficile without impacting on other, beneficial gut bacteria.

AvidBiotics is exploiting its Avidocin™ proteins, and Micacide™ proteins platforms to develop nonantibody proteins as targeted therapeutics against bacteria, viral infections, and cancer. Avidocin™ proteins are a class of targeted bactericidal agents, designed as engineered, retargeted versions of R-type bacteriocins, a group of proteins used by Pseudomonas aeruginosa to kill other strains of bacteria by punching holes in their cell envelopes.

AvidBiotics claims its Avidocin proteins are highly specific to their bacterial targets and can be engineered against any bacterial species or strain, including multi-drug-resistant strains, without themselves promoting the development of resistance. To date the firm has exploited the technology to generate antibacterials against a range of pathogens, including E. coli 0157:H7, uropathogenic E. coli, C. difficile, Salmonella, and Yersinia pestis (plague).

In-house development programs are focused on C. difficile gastrointestinal infections, E. coli O157:H7, and enterohemorrhagic colitis. AvidBiotics has also received NIH grants to support the development of Avidocin proteins against Y. pestis, Acinobacter, and multiple Shiga toxin-producing E. coli.

Clostridium difficile has become the most frequent cause of hospital-acquired infections, recently overtaking methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA),” comments AvidBiotics’ CEO David W. Martin, M.D., on award of the latest SBIR grant. “Traditional antibiotics cannot be used to prevent C. difficile infections due to their profound unintended collateral damage to beneficial gut microbes. Our Avidocin proteins offer a potential new preventative approach to selectively kill C. difficile without affecting nontargeted microbes or contributing to the problem of antibiotic resistance.”

In September, AvidBiotics and DuPont Nutrition & Health inked a deal giving DuPont worldwide, exclusive rights to AvidBiotics’ antibacterial protein technology for use in the broad field of food and food protection. AvidBiotics retains all rights to applications of its technology in the fields of animal health, human therapeutics, human prophylactics, and human diagnostics.

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