Bypassing Bioprocessing in Antibiotic Production

James Graham,
James Graham

Although fermentation creates today’s antibiotics, that’s not the only way to do it. In fact, James Graham—CEO of Recce Pharmaceuticals in Sydney, Australia—believes that it’s best to bypass bioprocessing completely. That’s why Graham and his team create synthetic antibiotics.

Scientists at Recce design these antibiotics to attach to proteins in the plasma membrane of pathogens via hydrophobic interactions, which trigger cell lysis. “The bacteria can mutate as much as it likes, and the compound will still attach to the cell wall,” Graham says.

In bypassing bioprocessing, the Recce method is faster and more efficient, according to Graham.

“We can produce about 500 doses per hour with around a 100% product yield,” Graham says. “Plus, the compound is water soluble across the pH of blood to the acidity of the stomach.”

So, the compounds can be formulated for various forms of delivery, such as topical and intravenous.

Compared with the Recce method of making antibiotics, Graham says, conventional bioprocessing is “more expensive and variations in the end product lead to waste when the product doesn’t meet its specification.”

Recce will be commencing a Phase I clinical trial for intravenous use and parallel to that, a Phase I/II topical burn wounds trial. As Graham notes, “Our technology lends itself to broad-spectrum capabilities.”

Consequently, the Recce scientists can explore a wide range in applying this technology.

This example reveals a crucial question to ask about bioprocessing: Is it the best method for a specific application? Even if it was in the past, it might not always be in the future. So, drug manufacturers should consider all options.