TSRL, Inc. Awarded Two NIH Grants to Develop Therapeutics for Multi-Drug Resistant Infections

ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN, August 10th, 2017—TSRL, Inc., a privately-held preclinical accelerator, announced today that the company was awarded a Phase I Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grant and a Direct-to-Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from the National Institute of Allergy & Infectious Diseases (NIAID) of the National Institute of Health (NIH). TSRL and its collaborators from Purdue University and the University of Washington were awarded $3.6 million over the next three years to develop a portfolio of novel antibacterials for difficult-to-treat infections.

Under the Phase I STTR grant, the Purdue-TSRL team will receive $600,000 over the next two years to expedite the preclinical development of a new class of cell-penetrating antimicrobial peptides (CPAPs). Skilled in organic chemistry, Prof. Jean Chmielewski and her team at the Department of Chemistry engineered unnatural amino acids into peptides that target intracellular bacterial pathogens, breakdown established biofilms, and reduce inflammatory cytokines common in complicated skin and soft tissue infections.

The CPAPs have activity against both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria and can be used to deliver other agents to the site of infection. This grant, awarded in collaboration with microbiologist Dr. Mohamed Seleem of the School of Veterinary Medicine, will explore the efficacy of new chemistries and formulations of the CPAPs.

STAPH AUREUS UNDER SCanning Electron microscope

STAPH AUREUS UNDER SCanning Electron microscope

”Bacterial infection is a serious complication in the management of chronic non-healing wounds, and we are incredibly excited to continue our highly successful collaboration with TSRL and Dr. Seleem to apply our peptide-based chemistry to this significant medical problem” said Prof. Chmielewski.

Under the Direct-to-Phase II SBIR, TSRL and collaborators will receive $3,000,000 over the next three years to develop and test novel chemistries around methionyl-tRNA synthase inhibitors (MetRS). A major goal of the MetRS program is to develop orally-available, best-in-class agents for the treatment of systemic multi-drug resistant infections caused by gram-positive bacteria. New mechanisms of action are urgently needed since the emergence of methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

A major health issue in developed countries, the CDC statistics show that there are 80,461 severe infections and 11,285 deaths due to MRSA per year in the United States alone. This grant was awarded in collaboration with Dr. Fred Buckner, a physician-scientist at the Department of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and Dr. Erkang Fan, a medicinal chemist, both at the University of Washington School of Medicine.

“Dr. Fan and I are very pleased to receive this NIH funding in partnership with TSRL to develop new antibiotics for MRSA and other infections caused by Gram positive bacteria," said Dr. Buckner." The combined expertise of the scientists at University of Washington and at TSRL will make an outstanding team to bring forward much needed therapeutics to combat the spreading problem of multi-drug resistant infectious diseases.” 


About TSRL, Inc.:

TSRL, Inc. is a privately-held preclinical accelerator based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. We collaborate with partners in academia and industry to develop early-stage anti-infective therapeutics and drug delivery technologies. In these collaborations, we provide infrastructure, drug development expertise, and access to non-dilutive funding. Our asset-centric portfolio is built on promising lead-stage anti-infective compounds. More information about TSRL, Inc. is available on the company website http://www.tsrlinc.com or can be requested by contacting Dr. Elke Lipka, President, 7346634233 x236, elipka(at)tsrlinc(dot)com.

Acknowledgment of NIH Support:

This research is supported by the National Institute Of Allergy And Infectious Diseases of the National Institutes of Health under Award Numbers R41AI132102 and R44AI134190. The content of this press release is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.