AVI BioPharma, Inc. has announced that it has received a Notice of Allowance for U.S. Patent No. 7,049,431 titled "Antisense Antibacterial Cell Division Composition and Method."
The patent describes the use of NeuGene® antisense compounds to target bacterial cell division and cell cycle genes for the development of a new class of antibiotics.
This is the central patent covering AVI's antibiotic development program referred to as NeuBiotics.
The patent allowance follows a related publication in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, volume 55/2005, pages 983-988, in which an 11-base NeuGene compound targeting the acpP gene of E. coli significantly inhibited bacterial growth in both pure culture and in infected mice.
These studies showed, for the first time, that an antisense DNA analog can inhibit bacterial growth in animal infections.
The relatively short oligomer lengths should offer an improved safety index as they are expected to have no effect on human gene expression.
"This antisense approach to the development of a new class of antibiotics has broad potential to treat infections caused by emerging strains of antibiotic-resistant gram-positive bacteria," said Patrick L. Iversen, Ph.D., senior vice president of research and development at AVI.
"We believe we can continue to explore the use of NEUGENE antibiotics to include a variety of gene targets, newly emerging infectious disease, and enhance the potency and efficacy in additional animal infection studies."
NeuBiotics are NeuGene antisense compounds containing just 10 to 13 subunits that target prokaryotic (bacteria) genes rather than the typical 18 to 24 subunits used to target higher organisms including man.
The shorter antisense polymers are able to gain entry into the more complex bacterial cell wall and inactivate the targeted gene but are too short to inhibit mammalian genes.