MGB puts a new spin on fighting multi-resistant bacteria

MGB Biopharma wants to tackle multi-resistant bacteria with their newly developed anti-infectives. Its lead candidate, MGB-BP-3 is now entering Phase I.

Biotech companies use several approaches when it comes to killing bacteria, especially when these are resistant against antibiotics. In our last news, we have seen, Ferring betting on bacteriophages or ELIGO using CRISPR on this purpose. The Scottish company MGB Biopharma is developing a new kind of anti-infectives: The minor groove binders.

The DNA embodies the genomic map in every organism.  It is constructed of a chain of base pairs that are attached to a sugar-phosphate backbone, rotating around itself in the form of a double helix. On one side, these backbones are closer together than on the other. The resulting grooves are referred to as the major and minor grooves.  Both represent high selective binding sites for regulatory proteins that interact with the DNA.

MGB Biopharma was founded in 2010 to apply this biological mechanism into therapy. Its lead candidate MGB-BP-3 is an antibiotic that binds to the minor groove. The drug has been shown to be active against a broad range of multi-resistant Gram-positive pathogens like Clostridium difficile. The latter is the target of MGB’s first in human testing with an oral fomulation of MGB-BP-3. Therefore, a Phase I trial with 40 volunteers will be conducted to determine the safety, tolerability and pharmacokinetics. Results are expected for the end of 2015.

Binding of MGB-BP-3 to the DNA minor groove. Source:

Infections by multi-resistant Gram-positive pathogens, such as Clostridium difficile, are a worldwide growing problem that causes many deaths. For the young company, the Phase I clinical trial represents a major milestone. In the battle against resistant bacteria, the novel mode of action displayed by MGB-BP-3 may play a key role.

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