University Spinout: NovoBiotic Pharmaceuticals and Researchers Make News with New Antibiotic Discovery Platform

Scientific researchers from Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts and Bonn, Germany claim to have discovered a new antibiotic that can kill the bacteria associated with medical issues including pneumonia, blood infections, and staph. The newly discovered antibiotic is called teixobactin. Although it has not been tested among the human population, the teixobactin has been tested with mice and has cured the mice from different types of infections including skin infections, thigh infections, and lung infections. The research has also shown that the antibiotic is not like any other in that infectious germs may not be able to develop a resistance to it.

Like many other antibiotics, including streptomycin, vancomycin, and tetracycline, teixobactin was found while researchers were using a new and advanced technology testing the bacteria in soil. Slava Epstein, a researcher and biologist from Northeastern University, constructed ichip technology, a microfluidic chip about two inches long, and used it as a diffusion chamber to dilute the soil. There, the bacteria were able to grow in its home environment and when enough had grown, the bacteria were moved to a petri dish to be closely tested for the ability to create an antibiotic.

During the testing period, the antibiotic seemed to have destroyed the bacteria that are the cause of debilitating staph infections, strep bacteria, and tuberculosis. The new antibiotic appears to be able to kill infectious bacteria by connecting to the cell’s fat molecule. Because of this, it may be impossible for bacteria to ever develop a resistance to the antibiotic. Although research has shown no known antibiotic that has not been resistant to infectious bacteria, teixobactin could prove to be that miracle antibiotic to form a strong barrier against bacteria and provide a new weapon against infectious bacteria in the body.

Since its discovery, teixobactin has been licensed to the NovoBiotic Pharmaceutical in Cambridge, Massachusetts which is also is startup from Northeastern University. Although the research has proven that a new antibiotic has come, there are still a few economic and regulatory matters that must be handled before bringing the antibiotic to the general market. It is expected that the new antibiotic will take approximately two years to be refined and safe enough to be tested in human subjects. Researchers and the assisting spinout company are hoping that the antibiotic will become available for human use soon.

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