London: In a major step towards bringing to the clinic a “game-changing” new antibiotic that was discovered last year, a team of University of Lincoln researchers, including one of Indian-origin, has successfully produced two synthetic derivatives of Teixobactin.
Last year, the discovery of the antibiotic Teixobactin by researchers in the US was hailed as a ‘game-changer’ in the fight against antimicrobial resistance as it is the world’s first known antibiotic capable of destroying “drug resistant” bacteria.
The last new class of antibiotics was discovered nearly 30 years ago.
However, in order for Teixobactin to be developed as a potential drug treatment, several versions of the antibiotic must be produced via chemical synthesis in order to overcome the hurdles of drug development.
Researchers in laboratories around the world have been working towards this objective since last year’s breakthrough.
Now Ishwar Singh from the University of Lincoln and his colleagues have become the first group of scientists to synthetically produce two derivatives of Teixobactin, an official statement said.
“Teixobactin originally evolved in soil to kill the bacteria around it, so our challenge was to produce the antibiotic synthetically,” said Singh, a specialist in novel drug design at Lincoln’s School of Pharmacy.
“The method we created to do this uses commercially available ‘building blocks’ and has a single purification step, and we are delighted with the results – we are now able to present the total synthesis of two derivatives of Teixobactin,” Singh noted.
The findings appeared online in the journal Chemical Communications.
The bacteria against which Teixobactin is effective have, thus far, not shown any detectable resistance and given its mechanisms of attack, scientists are also confident that this is unlikely to occur in the future.
“The process of bringing an antibiotic to clinic is an extremely lengthy one and can often take around 10-15 years. There is much more extensive research and testing to be carried out before we can even consider Teixobactin as a viable medical treatment,” Singh added.