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NovaBay Pharmaceuticals, a US clinical-stage company developing non-antibiotic anti-infective compounds for the treatment or prevention of a range of bacterial, viral and fungal infections, has appointed Dr Mark Anderson to the new position of chief scientific officer. He has previously held senior positions at Myriad Genetics, Elitra Pharmaceuticals, Pfizer-Agouron and Ligand-Glycomed.
In a new occasional series, START-UP will select companies it profiled in the past to find out what went according to plan, and what didn't. This month, we revisit four anti-infectives discovery companies first profiled in 2000 and draw out some lessons, both from their successes and from their failures, for those starting out today.
Geneva-based start up Athelas Ltd. aims to develop anti-infective drugs based on new bacterial targets it discovers through its DiVi platform. The company's platform is based on the use of the amoeba as a model organism--by engineering single-gene mutant bacteria and infecting the amoebas with those bacteria, Athelas' scientists aim to identify drug targets that may be important in vivo, but that might not be found via traditional in vitro screening methods.
QSI Pharma, a Danish start up formed by the Technical University of Denmark and the biotech incubator of Leo Pharma AS, aims to inhibit the formation of deadly biofilms, highly structured and virulent communities of surface colonizing bacteria. QSI aims to discover molecules that interfere with bacterial quorum sensing, a cell-cell signaling process by which bacteria form biofilms when sufficient bacteria have amassed. The company's first target is Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which is responsible for a significant percentage of deaths from many hospital-acquired infections.
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