DOD awards $16 million to fund development of novel antibiotic
The Defense Threat Reduction Agency, a division of the US Department of Defense, has awarded up to $16 million to VenatoRx Pharmaceuticals for discovery and development of a novel, first-in-class antibiotic for biodefense applications.
According to a VenatoRx press release, the project derives from the company's proprietary platform of non-beta-lactam penicillin binding protein inhibitors. Like beta-lactam antibiotics, the molecules block cell wall synthesis by binding to the bacterial penicillin binding proteins, but are designed to be impervious to the beta-lactamase enzymes that prevent beta-lactams from working.
"A non-beta-lactam class of antibiotics would circumvent more than 70 years of clinical bacterial resistance and represents a powerful countermeasure for first line treatment of infections caused by potential drug-resistant bacterial bioweapons, including Burkholderia spp., Yersinia pestis, and Francisella tularensis," Daniel Pevear, PhD, co-founder and senior VP of biology at VenatoRx, said in the press release.
In July 2017, VenatoRx received $3.4 million for development of the platform from CARB-X, the Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria Biopharmaceutical Accelerator.
Jan 4 VenatoRx Pharmaceuticals press release
Study provides insight into MRSA transmission in the operating room
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is more transmissible in the operating room than methicillin-sensitive S aureus (MSSA), University of Iowa researchers reported yesterday in the American Journal of Infection Control.
For the study, which aimed to provide further insight into intraoperative MRSA transmission dynamics by examining the association of MRSA with clonal transmission, the researchers collected 173 S aureus isolates from 274 randomly selected operating room environments at three hospitals over a 1-year period (March 2009-February 2010). They then conducted systematic-phenotypic and multilocus sequence typing analysis to identify clonally related transmission events. Confirmed transmission events were defined as at least two S aureus isolates obtained from more than 2 distinct intraoperative reservoirs sampled within or between cases in a study unit that were epidemiologically and clonally related.
The researchers identified 58 clonal transmission events, and approximately 38% of transmitted isolates were methicillin-resistant compared with 18% of non-transmitted isolates. MRSA isolates were associated with increased risk of clonal transmission compared with MSSA isolates (adjusted incidence risk ration [IRR] 1.68; unadjusted IRR 1.85). A typical pathway of intraoperative MRSA transmission involved transmission from patient reservoir skin sites to provider hand and environmental surfaces within and between cases.
The authors say the study suggests that a multimodal infection control program including improvements in hand hygiene, patient decolonization, and environmental cleaning is indicated for maximal reservoir control.
Jan 4 Am J Infect Control study