US-based NovoBiotic Pharmaceuticals has reported the discovery of a new antibiotic compound, teixobactin, which has proven its effectiveness against resistant bacteria.
The antibiotic compound was discovered in a screen against NovoBiotic’s extract library generated from previously uncultured microbes.
NovoBiotic president Dr Dallas Hughes said: "The discovery of teixobactin is further evidence that our unique culturing technologies provide ready access to new chemistry from nature that can be screened for novel drug leads."
The compound demonstrated potent killing against a wide range of bacterial pathogens, including methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and vancomycin resistant enterococci (VRE), reported the journal Nature.
Teixobactin also showed favourable drug properties, including superior efficacy in three mouse models of infection that comprise septicemia, skin and lung.
Discovered through collaboration with Germany’s University of Bonn and US-based Northeastern University, teixobactin was demonstrated to inhibit bacterial cell wall synthesis by binding to two cell wall components, lipid II and lipid III.
The publication also reported that no resistant mutants of either Staphylococcus aureus or Mycobacterium tuberculosis could be generated.
NovoBiotic Pharmaceuticals co-founder Dr Kim Lewis said: "The need for new antibiotics is acute due to the global problem of pathogen drug resistance.
"Teixobactin’s dual mode of action and binding to non-peptidic regions suggest that resistance will be very difficult to develop."
In 2013, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated infections amounted to two million every year, with 23,000 deaths due to resistant organisms in the US.
Approximately 700,000 deaths are estimated to be recorded each year worldwide due to antibiotic resistance.
Image: Scanning electron micrograph of a human neutrophil ingesting MRSA. Photo: courtesy of National Institutes of Health (NIH).