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ContraFect Corporation, the company that is pioneering the use of recombinant proteins for the treatment of drug-resistant bacteria, announced that it has licensed from the Rockefeller University a suite of eight patents to lysin (antibacterial) enzymes.
Lysins are enzymes that dissolve and kill tens of millions of bacteria in seconds. Each lysin is specific to a single type of bacteria and does not cause the side effects or drug resistance that commonly occur with antibiotics and renders them ineffective. Lysins are remarkably safe, reacting only with targeted bacteria and have no effect on human cells.
Robert Nowinski, CEO and chairman of ContraFect says, "We believe that there are 12 to 14 potential products that may come from these patents. The lysins in the agreement cover drug-resistant staph (MRSA) as well as group B streptococcus, pneumococcus, enterococcus and anthrax. These bacteria cause infections such as pneumonia, meningitis, ear infections in children, and serious infections of the intestine."
The eight patents are based on research conducted by Dr. Vincent Fischetti at the Rockefeller University, who is the first scientist to produce recombinant lysins for therapeutic and prophylactic use.
The combination of lysins and monoclonal antibodies provide ContraFect with a unique therapeutic approach. Lysins possess a therapeutic window that occurs virtually instantly while the monoclonal antibodies remain in the bloodstream for weeks and provide long-term benefit. This combined approach is of particular importance in treating drug-resistant bacteria.
Nowinski adds, "We believe the use of lysins and monoclonal antibodies for the treatment of life-threatening infectious diseases will have significant implications for the treatment of a variety of diseases, particularly MRSA which has become the most significant infection in the hospital and now is responsible for more deaths in the United States than HIV."