Research will progress defensin-mimetic compounds against multidrug-resistant biofilm infections.

PolyMedix and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst (UMass) have been awarded a $750,000 Phase 2 Small Business Technology Transfer contract by the U.S. Army Research Office to further develop antimicrobial compounds for the treatment of multidrug resistant biofilm-embedded bacteria.

The research will focus on small molecule compounds identified previously by PolyMedix under an initial Phase 1 contract awarded in July 2009. The new funding will allow the collaborating partners to conduct further research on the compounds, including in vitro and proof-of-concept in vivo studies, to identify the most promising leads against bacterial pathogens associated with biofilm infections.

“We believe that our small molecule defensin-mimetics, with their completely different mechanism of action that is intended to make bacterial resistance unlikely to develop, could be an important advance in addressing biofilm infections,” remarks Richard Scott, Ph.D., vp research at PolyMedix.

PolyMedix’ small molecule defensin-mimetic antimicrobials are designed to mimic human host defense proteins by targeting microbial membranes. Lead candidate antibiotic PMX-30063 started in Phase II trials in Canada in September, as treatment for acute bacterial skin and skin structure infections caused by Staphylococcus bacteria. Just last week the firm was granted IND clearance in the U.S. to start a Phase I study with the same candidate.

PolyMedix is exploiting its computational technology platform to develop a line of defensin-mimetic anti-infective drugs, along with antidotes to heparin and low molecular weight heparin known as heptagonists, and PolyCide™antimicrobial polymers for use in medical devices, personal care products, and for industrial applications. Lead heptagonist candidate, PMX-60056, is poised to start in Phase II development, and has previously shown efficacy in Phase Ib studies in normal subjects, the firm claims.

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