Drug discovery: Leaving no stone unturned

By: Katharine Gammon | Source: Nature.com

New antibiotic treatments could be found by combining novel and existing drugs, in drug-free nanoparticles, or at the bottom of the sea. The biotech company AvidBiotics in South San Francisco, California, has created engineered versions of R-type bacteriocins, which are proteins used by Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteria to kill other strains of bacteria by piercing their cell envelopes. AvidBiotics researchers say they chose this approach because the proteins are naturally species specific and easy to manipulate to new targets. The result is a protein-based drug called Avidocin.