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Scripps and Trius team up to develop new antibiotics with US Department of Defense grant
Date:9/20/2010

In an effort to tap into the vast potential of the oceans as a source for novel medical treatments, the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), a part of the Department of Defense (DoD), has awarded San Diego-based Trius Therapeutics, Inc. a four-and-a-half year contract worth up to $29.5 million to collaborate with Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego for the development of novel antibiotics directed against microorganisms that cause serious infections.

Trius will use its proprietary Focused Antisense Screening Technology (FAST) to identify the targets of antibacterial compounds from marine natural product libraries discovered by William Fenical, Distinguished Professor of Oceanography at Scripps Institution of Oceanography and Director of Scripps' Center for Marine Biotechnology and Biomedicine.

A pioneer in the field of marine biomedicine, Fenical has led efforts to explore the oceans in search of novel microbial sources that can lead to the development of new cures for a variety of diseases. Expeditions to Fiji, the Bahamas, and just off the Scripps Pier, to name a few destinations, have yielded promising drug compounds to treat cancer and other illnesses. The oceans, which remain largely unexplored, offer a broad diversity of environments that Fenical and his colleagues are examining for novel organisms and unique chemical structures.

Under the new DTRA award, Trius will apply its structure-based drug design capabilities to optimize antibacterial compounds for activity against biodefense pathogens such as Yersinia pestis, Francisella tularensis and Burkholderia pseudomallei. Trius believes that these compounds also will be active against drug-resistant pathogens involved in hospital-acquired infections.

"We are now facing an epidemic because drug resistance is growing at an alarming rate," said Fenical. "The oceans are a huge resource where biodiversity is greatest on our planet. The biomedical potent
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Contact: Mario Aguilera
scrippsnews@ucsd.edu
858-534-3624
University of California -- San Diego
Source:Eurekalert  

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Scripps and Trius team up to develop new antibiotics with US Department of Defense grant
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