WARF: P140321US02

New Broad-Spectrum Antibiotics


Douglas Weibel, Katherine Hurley, Katherine Faulkner

The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) is seeking commercial partners interested in developing small molecule compounds that interfere with bacterial membranes.
OVERVIEWThe rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria represents a potential health crisis. Some antibiotics (e.g., quinolones and fluoroquinolones) are losing their effectiveness while others simply don’t work against Gram-negative bacteria. This class of bacteria includes strains responsible for food poisoning, urinary tract infections, pneumonia, cystic fibrosis and sepsis.
THE INVENTIONA UW–Madison researcher and collaborators have identified an antibiotic compound effective against many drug-resistant, Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria. The compound (5-nonyloxytryptamine) and its analogs are small molecule inhibitors that interfere with the bacterial membrane and prevent replication.

The compound has been reported as an anticancer drug but was not previously shown to have antimicrobial properties. It was identified by searching for compounds that cause E. coli bacteria to lack a copy of the chromosome following cell division.
  • Antibiotic to treat infections and inhibit bacterial growth
  • Bacteria targets include Escherichia coli, Salmonella, Shigella, Bacillus, Listeria, Staphylococcus and Streptococcus species.
  • Topical and potentially systemic usage
  • Broad-spectrum weapon against Gram-negative, Gram-positive and antibiotic-resistant bacteria
STAGE OF DEVELOPMENTThe compound has been tested against a broad panel of human pathogens with promising results.
Contact Information
For current licensing status, please contact Rafael Diaz at or 608-960-9847.
The WARF Advantage

WARF: A Leader in Technology Transfer Since 1925
Since its founding as a private, nonprofit affiliate of the University of Wisconsin–Madison, WARF has provided patent and licensing services to UW–Madison and worked with commercial partners to transform university research into products that benefit society. WARF intellectual property managers and licensing staff members are leaders in the field of university-based technology transfer. They are familiar with the intricacies of patenting, have worked with researchers in relevant disciplines, understand industries and markets, and have negotiated innovative licensing strategies to meet the individual needs of business clients.

The University of Wisconsin and WARF –
A Single Location to Accelerate Translational Development of New Drugs

UW–Madison has the integrative capabilities to complete many key components of the drug development cycle, from discovery through clinical trials. As one of the top research universities in the world, and one of the two best-funded universities for research in the country, UW–Madison offers state-of-the-art facilities unmatched by most public universities.

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.