Antibiotic resistance is a global problem, and with bacteria having developed resistance to all approved antibacterial agents there is a growing need for innovative solutions. Phico Therapeutics has developed a new class of antibacterial agent, a platform technology called SASPject. SASPject comprises modified, disabled bacterial viruses (bacteriophages) injecting a gene encoding an antibacterial protein, SASP, into target bacteria. SASP, or Small, Acid-soluble Spore Protein(s), inactivate bacterial DNA in a non-sequence-specific manner so their activity is unaffected by DNA mutations. Selected pathogens can be targeted, avoiding the normal flora. A Staphylococcus aureus-targeted SASPject, PT1.2, developed for the nasal decolonization of S. aureus, including methicillin-resistant (MRSA) strains, is expected to complete phase I in 2009. SASPject PT1.2 shows good in vitro activity against a wide range of diverse clinical S. aureus isolates, including MRSA strains. A systemic SASPject PT1.2, and SASPjects targeted against Clostridium difficile and multidrug-resistant Gram-negative organisms are in development. The SASPject technology could represent a new paradigm in antibacterial therapeutics.
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