Peptide Deformylase Inhibitors : A Novel Class of Antibiotics for Resistant Bacteria
Mar 5, 2005 - 6:49:38 AM

Vicuron Pharmaceuticals Inc. announced today that the company has received another milestone payment from Novartis Pharma AG in recognition of follow-up lead product candidates identified for Novartis' development from its ongoing research collaboration focused on peptide deformylase inhibitors, a novel class of antibiotics.

The company also announced that Novartis has suspended Phase 1 development of the first lead product candidate from the outpatient respiratory tract program in favor of developing a second lead compound, which is expected to enter the clinic by the end of the year.

"The identification of a second lead candidate further validates our mechanism-based drug design and demonstrates the speed and efficiency with which this prolific collaboration has brought multiple optimized drug candidates from concept toward the clinic," said Zhengyu Yuan, Ph.D., Senior Vice President of Research. "With the preclinical studies started and an aggressive development timeline established, we expect this candidate to move from preclinical studies into the clinic in a timely manner."

Peptide deformylase inhibitors constitute one of the most promising new antibiotic classes and hold the potential to treat large markets of community bacterial infections. The peptide deformylase inhibitor class of antibiotics targets a novel protein that is essential for bacterial growth and provides the basis for selective activity toward a wide range of bacterial pathogens. This new class has already demonstrated promising in vitro and in vivo activities against a broad spectrum of bacteria, including those resistant to widely used penicillin, cephalosporin, macrolide, and quinolone antibiotics.

Peptide deformylase is a new target for antibacterial drug discovery. Vicuron scientists have combined their expertise in bacterial genomics and mechanism based drug design, with skills in microbiology and pharmacology, in collaboration with expert scientists at Novartis, to identify a family of promising molecules from which a lead compound was chosen which demonstrates selective inhibition of peptide deformylase and exhibits potent broad spectrum activity against key bacterial pathogens both in vitro and in several in vivo models.

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