Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation

Therapeutics & Vaccines
Therapeutics Vaccines
Inhibiting Quorum Sensing in Staphylococcus Epidermidis, a Health Care Pathogen
WARF: P150348US02

Inventors: Helen Blackwell, Tian Yang

The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) is seeking commercial partners interested in the first synthetic – and most potent – QS inhibitors reported to date for S. epidermidis. These compounds represent powerful tools for modulating virulence and for research into this emerging public health threat.
Staphylococcus epidermidis is an important Gram-negative bacterial pathogen in hospital-acquired infections, and the most common cause of infections on indwelling medical devices. The costs related to vascular catheter-related bloodstream infections caused by S. epidermidis are estimated at $2 billion annually in the U.S. alone. Treatment of S. epidermidis infection is complicated by multidrug resistance and persistent biofilm formation.

Bacterial quorum sensing (QS) plays a key role in infection, and targeting this system with pharmacotherapies could significantly attenuate virulence.
The Invention
UW–Madison researchers have synthesized a set of potent peptidic modulators of Staphylococcus epidermidis quorum sensing. Targeting the AgrC receptor, these compounds include the first universal QS inhibitors active against all known groups of S. epidermidis. Others are strongly group- or species-selective and could be applied to selectively modulate either S. epidermidis or S. aureus quorum sensing.
  • Modulating virulence and inhibiting biofilm growth
  • Research tool
Key Benefits
  • First and most potent synthetic QS inhibitors of their kind
  • S. epidermidis infections resist traditional antimicrobial treatment and pose a serious public health burden.
Stage of Development
Several inhibitors have been tested and shown to strongly antagonize or agonize the AgrC-I receptor. Notably, one compound was found to strongly inhibit S. epidermidis biofilm growth, with a higher potency and efficacy than the native autoinducing peptide.
Additional Information
For More Information About the Inventors
For current licensing status, please contact Rafael Diaz at [javascript protected email address] or 608-960-9847