Naturally Occurring Small Molecule Potentiates Colistin

Tech ID: 20-061

Inventor: Dr. Christian Melander

Date added: July 21, 2020


A naturally occurring small molecule that overcomes colistin resistance via adjuvant activity. 

Technology Summary

After years of widespread antibiotic use, many bacteria have developed resistance to many classes of antibiotics, warning that we are fast approaching a post-antibiotic era. Investigation into alternative therapies capable of circumventing resistance mechanisms is necessary for overcoming multi-drug resistant (MDR) bacterial infections. One such approach is the development of antibiotic adjuvants, which have little or no inherent antibiotic activity at their active concentrations but instead potentiate the activity of antibiotics against antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Colistin is one of these commonly prescribed antibiotics that now many bacteria are resistant to. In order to prevent further potentiation of antibiotic resistance to colistin, it is only prescribed as a last-resort antibiotic once all other treatment options have been exhausted. There are currently no known small molecules capable of breaking colistin resistance and the discovery of effective adjuvants could renew colistin for more widespread use as a therapy for MDR bacterial infections. 

Researchers at the University of Notre Dame have recently discovered the efficacy of a small natural molecule in resensitizing A. baumannii and K. pneumoniae to colistin antibiotic treatment. Introduction of this molecule with colistin as a treatment for bacterial infections could help reverse the antibiotic resistance problem and expand colistin’s therapeutic use beyond a last-resort treatment option. 

Market Advantage

•    Reverses antibiotic resistance of A. baumannii and K. pneumoniae to colistin, expanding the limited viable treatment options for bacterial infections

Technology Readiness Status

TRL3 - Experimental Proof of Concept

Intellectual Property

Patent Pending


Richard Cox