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A Novel Niche Approach to Antibacterial Drug Development

This article was originally published in Start Up

Executive Summary

Researchers are finding new ways to disable bacteria, either by increasing their sensitivity to existing drugs or decreasing their virulence. Targeting bacterial functions that have a significant effect on growth in an infected host but are not thought of as "antimicrobial" may represent an important new drug development strategy. A group recently reported encouraging, if very early, results about the ability of an inhibitor of virulence factor biosynthesis to control tuberculosis infection.

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VLST Corp.

VLST is developing a platform around the identification and understanding of the function of virulence factors, a set of proteins in viruses that down regulate the host's immune response, thereby conferring a survival advantage. Understanding this evolutionary process can lead to the identification of a group of clinically relevant cellular targets, as the predicate for the development of therapeutics.

AvidBiotics Corp.

By harnessing the natural killing power of pyocins, a class of proteins produced in bacteria that enable the bacteria to kill related species, AvidBiotics expects to develop a new generation of engineered antibacterial proteins.

Antibacterial Drug Development

For some start-ups, keeping pace with Big Pharma's shifting business priorities means following a path of less resistance. New companies are being formed around Big Pharma assets that no longer fit their priorities and market needs; others are fueled by novel discovery approaches based on elucidating and harnessing the power of natural genetic mechanisms.

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