Infectious diseases often dominate the media headlines, including rising antibiotic resistance and fear of “super bugs”. One serious problem facing the global community is that anti-infective treatments that were once effective now cannot be relied upon. There are some strains of infections including tuberculosis, blood poisoning and gonorrhea that resist all known drugs.
Coincidentally, infections that used to be rare, are now more common for example community acquired multi-drug resistant strains (MRSA golden staph) or where patients with reduced immunity are living longer for example following cancer treatment, therapy for HIV or cystic fibrosis. Compounding the problem are the very few new technologies in development for treatment of infections. Rising concern surrounds ever-increasing resistance to our existing antibiotic treatments, and the consequent rise in morbidity and mortality associated with previously treatable conditions. The scene is therefore set for the discovery and development of new anti-infective treatments.
BioDiem’s antimicrobial in development: BDM-I
BDM-I is being developed through BioDiem’s subsidiary, Opal Biosciences Ltd. For more information on BDM-I see http://www.opalbiosciences.com.
BDM-I has been tested in vitro against a range of disease-causing microbes such as the bacteria causing Golden Staph [methicillin-resistant Staph aureus (MRSA)] and tuberculosis [Mycobacterium tuberculosis], the disease-causing fungi Aspergillus fumigatus, Candida albicans, Scedosporium spp., Pneumocystis carinii and Candida glabrata and Candida auris, potential agents which could be used in biological warfare agents and other serious human pathogens including Plasmodium falciparum which causes malaria. While a range of microbes appears sensitive to BDM-I, its action appears selective i.e. not all strains of a genus have been shown to be sensitive. Some of the most sensitive organisms on minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) screening have been fungal, including Pneumocystis and Scedosporium species.
Screening studies to investigate the scope of in vitro activity of BDM-I have been conducted by groups such as the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)[1,2], United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID), University of Sydney, RMIT University and QMIR Berghofer. Based on promising in vitro data, BDM-I has progressed to preclinical in vivo studies as a prelude to studies in various infectious disease models.
Opal-T (topical application of BDM-I): in 2016 a topical formulation program for BDM-I (Opal-T) commenced in partnership with Formulytica Pty Ltd, a specialist topical formulation company based in Melbourne (www.formulytica.com).
Opal Biosciences is seeking investment to take BDM-I to this next milestone of testing in preclinical models of infection to demonstrate proof-of-concept.
 (NIAID) is the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, an institute of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).