DENVER and PROVO, Utah -- Osmotics Corporation, an emerging specialty pharmaceutical company focused on dermatology and infectious diseases, today announced that it has entered into a worldwide exclusive licensing agreement with Brigham Young University to acquire rights to a family of patented compounds, cationic steroid antibiotics, and methods for treating antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections. The licensed technology is based on the research of Paul B. Savage, professor of chemistry
CSAs act as potent antibiotics against gram-negative and gram-positive
bacteria, and can be used alone or with conventional antibiotics. Extensive
in vitro testing has shown that CSAs are highly effective at very low
concentrations against multi-drug resistant strains of Pseudomonas aeruginosa,
Salmonella and other potentially lethal bacteria. The technology is covered
by two U.S. patents (6,350,738 and 6,486,148) and has been the subject of more
than 10 peer-reviewed journal articles.
P. aeruginosa is a major cause of hospital-acquired infections and tends
to infect people with immunodeficiency or burns and those with catheters or on
respirators. In addition, P. aeruginosa is the most common cause of lung
infection in cystic fibrosis patients. P. aeruginosa can survive under
conditions that few other organisms can tolerate and is increasingly resistant
to most antibiotics, including tobramycin. Recent clinical testing has shown
efficacy of these CSAs against tobramycin-resistant strains of P. aeruginosa
obtained from cystic fibrosis patients. Clinical testing is now underway to
evaluate the CSAs for the use in the treatment of gram-negative bacterial
infections in burn victims. Approximately 60 percent of the deaths that occur
among burn victims are due to uncontrolled bacterial infections.
Most antibiotics target specific bacterial enzymes to inhibit bacterial
growth. Enzymes are proteins that control the chemical reactions necessary to
sustain life. Over time, bacteria can mutate their enzymatic pathways and
become resistant to enzyme-targeting antibiotics. Savage and his colleagues
at BYU have modeled CSAs after the body's defense system, which includes
antimicrobial peptides, antibiotics that destroy bacteria by targeting and
destroying their membranes instead of enzymatic pathways. However, unlike the
body's antibiotics, which are relatively large molecules, CSAs are small
molecules that are easy to manufacture and purify.
"Although the triumph of antibiotics over disease-causing bacteria is one
of modern medicine's greatest success stories, widespread use of antibiotics
has led to the development of new strains that are resistant to many
antibiotics," said Savage. "The development of antibiotic resistance makes it
more difficult to purge infections from the body and heightens the risk of
acquiring infections in a hospital. Consequently, discovery of new
antibiotics, especially those unlikely to cause bacterial resistance, is an
essential step in controlling the spread of drug-resistant bacteria."
Carl Genberg, president of Osmotics Pharma, a division of Osmotics
Corporation, stated, "We see this class of antibiotics to be a very
significant market opportunity for Osmotics because infections caused by drug
resistant bacteria can affect anyone. Antibiotic resistance is a particularly
serious problem for patients with comprised immune systems such as people with
HIV/AIDS and patients in critical care units. It is estimated that the cost
to the health care system of resistant pathogens that require more expensive
drug therapy or increased hospital stays is approximately $5 billion."
Steven Porter, chief executive officer of Osmotics Corporation, stated,
"We licensed this novel antibiotic technology because we believe it will
address many of the drug resistant bacteria that cause infections, such as
pneumonia, Staphylococcus aureus and other staph infections, and Salmonella.
Ultimately, this unique technology may demonstrate antiviral characteristics
in addition to the antibiotic efficacy for which we are currently testing."
Porter concluded, "There is an increased need for a new antibiotic that
can address key issues in the global healthcare environment: increased drug
resistant bacteria, the increased cost of antibiotic therapy which in many
instances has limited efficacy, and the limited number of new novel
antibiotics in the drug development pipeline. Our goal is to bring to market
an easy-to-manufacture alternative to current antibiotic therapy which can be
effective across a broad range of therapeutic categories."
According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention:
* Nearly two million patients in the United States get an infection in
the hospital each year. Healthcare infections contribute to the
deaths of up to 88,000 of these patients.
* More than 70 percent of the bacteria that cause hospital-acquired
infections are resistant to at least one of the drugs commonly used to
* Persons infected with drug-resistant organisms are more likely to have
longer hospital stays and require treatment with second or third
choice drugs that may be less effective, more toxic and more
Source: Osmotics Corporation