Galapagos discovers novel class of antibiotics

Effective against all tested MRSA strains, Belgian firm says

Galapagos says it has discovered a new class of antibiotics, which show strong activity against all tested drug resistant Staphylococcus aureus, including hospital and community acquired MRSA (Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus) strains.

The Belgian biotechnology company says this newly discovered antibiotic works by inhibiting the target DNA pol III alpha, an enzyme present in all bacteria and essential for their growth, but absent in humans. This new mode of action may be used to explore a variety of novel antibiotics, targeting bacteria that are resistant to current antibiotics.

Using this novel target, Mechelen-based 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 Staph. aureus, including MRSA.

CAM-1 also shows better efficacy than standard antibiotics, as shown by in vivo bacterial infection models, the firm says.

Galapagos aims to enter the clinic in the first quarter of 2014, followed by a Proof of Concept study.

‘Selection of a candidate antibiotic in our MRSA development programme is an important step toward realising the full potential of our unique anti- bacterial programme,’ said Dr Piet Wigerinck, chief scientific officer of Galapagos.

‘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.’

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