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Glaxo:New Compound Offers Way To Fight Drug-Resistant Bacteria

GlaxoSmithKline PLC (GSK) Wednesday said a method of killing bacteria already resistant to existing treatments has been found which could help scientists develop new antibiotics to tackle bacteria responsible for many hospital and community-acquired infections.

The research results, published Wednesday in the journal Nature, are from collaborations between Glaxo and the Wellcome Trust's Seeding Drug Discovery initiative and the U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency.

Glaxo in a statement said its researchers used an imaging technique called X-ray crystallography to take a snapshot of the new compound latched on to the enzyme topoisomerase. The enzyme is part of the bacteria's internal machinery and helps the bacteria produce proteins and replicate.

Stopping this enzyme prevents the bacteria from reproducing. Medicines, known as the quinolones, that target the enzyme have been successfully used as antibiotics since 1962, but bacteria are increasingly developing resistance to this class of drug.

By looking at X-ray images, the researchers demonstrated that the new investigational medicine attaches to the enzyme in a different place to quinolones, enabling it to stop the same bacteria that are resistant to these older treatments.

"We already knew that targeting this enzyme was clinically proven to stop bacteria in their tracks, we just needed to be a bit more inventive in how we attacked it," said Michael Gwynn, from Glaxo's Infectious Diseases research group.

"These images and the data showing the efficacy of this compound against a range of bacteria validate our approach, demonstrating that the enzyme can still be blocked even in bacteria already resistant to other antibiotics that work against this same enzyme," Gwynn said.

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