PolyMedix, Inc. (OTCBB:PYMX), a biotechnology company focused on developing innovative approaches to transforming the treatment of infectious diseases, today announced that data showing the effectiveness of one of the company’s PolyCide® antimicrobial compounds in laboratory testing of suture coatings were published in the September issue of Langmuir, an American Chemical Society publication. PolyCides are PolyMedix’s synthetic antimicrobial compounds that mimic the antimicrobial mechanism of the body’s natural defenses against dangerous pathogens and that have been developed as additives to materials in order to make the materials self-sterilizing.
According to recently published research conducted by Johns Hopkins, each year, about 500,000 patients in the United States develop surgical site infections (SSI), which account for more than 10,000 deaths.1
“There is a growing need for effective and safe alternatives to impart antimicrobial properties to medical devices,” commented, Dr. Richard Scott, Vice President of Research at PolyMedix. “One currently available antimicrobial suture contains triclosan, an agent which has limited coverage2, documented resistance3 and slow bacterial killing rates4. Our PolyCide compounds have a distinct mechanism of action designed to rapidly kill bacteria and make bacterial resistance unlikely to develop and, in other studies, have demonstrated a broad spectrum of activity. We believe that our PolyCides could play an important role in reducing the incidence of surgical site infections, a potentially serious and expensive medical problem.”
The data published in Langmuir was the result of research conducted in collaboration with Dr. Gregory Tew at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Dr. Tew is a member of PolyMedix’s Scientific Advisory Board. In laboratory tests, the activity of one PolyCide compound, PAMBM (also known as PMX-50003), in antimicrobial suture coatings was compared to that of triclosan. Triclosan is the active ingredient in the most commonly used antimicrobial surgical suture, Vicryl Plus Antimicrobial Suture (VPAS). The results of the research showed:
- Suture coatings containing the PolyCide outperformed VPAS coatings containing similar concentrations of triclosan in terms of bacterial killing. Ineffective killing was observed with triclosan coatings, whereas greater than 99% reductions in bacterial numbers were demonstrated with coatings containing 1.6% to 2.4% by weight of the PolyCide.
- The PolyCide rapidly killed (direct bactericidal action) one of the most common pathogens associated with surgical site infections, S. aureus, whereas triclosan was only bacteriostatic (inhibited bacterial reproduction).
- Calcium stearate, the anionic lubricant in the commercial VPAS coating, did not interfere with the antimicrobial activity of the PolyCide.
Dr. Tew commented, “It is exciting to see that the PolyCide outperformed triclosan in these studies. These data support efforts to expand and advance the development of PolyCide compounds for wound care applications to improve infection control. We are excited about these results and the potential to develop the PolyCide materials for antimicrobial sutures and other medical devices.”
The PolyCide compounds are synthetic mimetics of the host-defense proteins, and employ the same mechanism of action that directly and selectively targets and disrupts the bacterial cell membrane. The PolyCides are members of a new class of antimicrobial agents, called defensin-mimetics. Host defense proteins represent one of the oldest and most effective antimicrobial defense systems found in humans and virtually all living creatures. The PolyCides share the same principals for activity as PolyMedix’s therapeutic defensin-mimetic antibiotic compounds, including the lead compound, brilacidin, a systemic antibiotic agent which recently successfully completed a Phase 2 clinical trial for the treatment of Staph infections, including MRSA.
The PolyCide research was supported by a grant PolyMedix received from the National Science Foundation to support the development of antimicrobial sutures (NSF SBIR Award 1013835). The content of the Langmuir article is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Science Foundation.