WARF: P140428US02

Natural Antibiotic to Treat Clostridium Infection and More


Timothy Bugni, Thomas Wyche, Douglas Braun, Jeff Piotrowski, Nasia Safdar

The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) is seeking commercial partners interested in developing ecteinamycin, a compound that may be more potent than drugs currently used to treat serious bacterial infections.
OVERVIEWBacterial resistance to antibiotics is an escalating problem, especially in hospital settings. The Centers for Disease Control recently identified Clostridium difficile as posing an “urgent” health threat, highlighting the need for new and effective therapeutics.

C. difficile is the most common cause of nosocomial infectious diarrhea. The bacteria sicken half a million people each year and 20 percent of patients get sick again following treatment.
THE INVENTIONUW–Madison researchers have identified a potential new antibiotic to treat infections caused by C. difficile, Staphylococcus and other drug-resistant strains. The compound is a natural product called ecteinamycin. It was discovered and isolated from a sea squirt bacterium (Actinomadura). Preliminary data suggests ecteinamycin is potent, selective and able to protect cells against bacterial toxins.
  • Novel antibiotic to fight Gram-positive/negative bacteria, including C. difficile, methicillin-resistant S. aureus and vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus
  • Potential new weapon against dangerous and drug-resistant bacteria
  • May be superior to available antibiotics
STAGE OF DEVELOPMENTEcteinamycin has demonstrated potent in vitro activity against C. difficile. It showed greater potency than vancomycin (the “last resort” drug) against several different Gram-positive bacteria.
Contact Information
For current licensing status, please contact Rafael Diaz at or 608-960-9847.
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These include the Small Molecule Screening Facility at the UW Comprehensive Cancer Center; the Zeeh Pharmaceutical Experiment Station, which provides consulting and laboratory services for developing formulations and studying solubility, stability and more; the Waisman Clinical Biomanufacturing Facility; the Wisconsin Institute for Medical Research, which provides UW–Madison with a complete translational research facility; and the innovative, interdisciplinary Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery, home to the private, nonprofit Morgridge Institute for Research and its public twin, WID, part of the university's graduate school. The highly qualified experts at these facilities are ready to work with you to create a library of candidates for drug development.