Despite widespread antimicrobial resistance and the dramatic progress in genomics and computational biology, development efforts for new antimicrobials are declining worldwide and are being neglected by the traditional pharmaceutical industry. This situation poses significant risks and even a threat to the world, because biological weapons could potentially be engineered to overcome available therapeutic and prophylactic countermeasures. In order to address the need for new antimicrobials, Orion Integrated Biosciences Inc. is bringing to the market promising new small-molecules, therapeutic antibodies and small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) that inhibit the activity of proteins involved in the pathogen’s entry, replication, assembly and maturation. Compared to classical discovery efforts, our company has a unique antimicrobial development genomics-based approach that offers several advantages:
- Specific segments of the microbial genome (motif fingerprints and genomic signatures) provide a viable and highly cost-effective targeted strategy, circumventing the need for random screening, robotics, excessive reagent acquisition or compound storage facilities.
- The uniqueness of each genomic signature makes the selection of chemical compounds ideal to find candidates with none or reduced toxic side effects in the host.
- The antimicrobial agents identified on the basis of highly conserved genomic signatures represent a greater barrier of resistance to the chemical compound.
- Our ability to map motif fingerprints to specific protein structural features allow us to design and optimize the development of robust broad-spectrum and narrow-spectrum antimicrobials capable of maintaining their biological activity. This will considerably prolong the useful lifetime of the therapeutic products.