RADNOR, Pa., Jan. 14, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- PolyMedix, Inc. (OTCBB:PYMX), a biotechnology company dedicated to developing novel treatments for infectious diseases with defensin-mimetic antimicrobial agents, today announced that pre-clinical data demonstrating activity of the Company's defensin-mimetic antimicrobial compounds against the parasite that causes malaria, Plasmodium falciparum, were published in the December issue of Cell Host and Microbe, a peer-reviewed scientific journal.
The article entitled, "Platelet Factor 4 Activity against P. falciparum and Its Translation to Nonpeptidic Mimics as Antimalarials" is the result of a collaboration between PolyMedix and the University of Pennsylvania, Drexel University and John Hopkins University.
PolyMedix's library of defensin-mimetic antimicrobial compounds were screened to identify those capable of selectively killing the P. falciparum parasite without showing signs of cytotoxicity toward mammalian cells. A number of PolyMedix's defensin-mimetic compounds showed a high degree of activity against both drug-sensitive and drug–resistant parasites and act in a similar fashion to human platelet factor 4 (hPF4), a naturally-occurring protein. hPF4 is produced by platelets and has been observed to kill the malaria parasite in infected red cells without harming the red cell itself. The defensin-mimetic compounds and hPF4 appear to act via the same unique mechanism, which is distinct from other anti-malarial agents, by rapidly destroying the digestive vacuole of the parasite essentially starving it of food and releasing digestive enzymes. Furthermore, in the study, the mimetic compounds acted with greater speed and potency than the natural hPF4 protein, suggesting an advantage of the PolyMedix protein-mimetic approach.
Two of the lead defensin-mimetic compounds were tested in mouse models of malaria. Both compounds significantly decreased parasitic growth and greatly improved survival rates, providing further confirmation of the potential of defensin-mimetics as antimalarial agents.
"Our work shows that it may be possible to mimic a natural mechanism of the innate immune system with drug-like small molecules that we believe could be optimized to create potent, selective, potentially less toxic, and cheaper to make antimalarials," commented Dr. Doron Greenbaum, assistant professor of pharmacology at the Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania. "Targeting parasite membranes rather than proteins using PolyMedix's defensin-mimetics represents a highly innovative and novel approach for treating parasitic diseases."
The research described above was funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Gates Grand Challenges Exploration Program, and the University of Pennsylvania Penn Genome Frontiers Institute, is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official view of these organizations.
Malaria is a devastating global disease exposing up to three billion people and causing more than one million deaths per year. Malaria is caused by a parasite called Plasmodium, which is transmitted to people by infected mosquitoes. In the human body, the parasites multiply in the liver, and then infect red blood cells. According to the World Health Organization, the inappropriate use of antimalarial drugs during the past century, including poor management of use, deployment of drugs on a large scale and use as monotherapies, has contributed to the current situation of unacceptably high levels of resistance. This growing resistance to antimalarial medicines has spread very rapidly, undermining malaria control efforts.
About PolyMedix, Inc.
PolyMedix is a clinical stage biotechnology company dedicated to transforming the treatment of infectious diseases. PolyMedix is developing a new class of antibiotics – defensin-mimetics – for the treatment of serious, life-threatening infections which often develop resistance to currently available antibiotics. PolyMedix's compounds are designed to imitate the mechanism of action of host defense proteins, which contribute to natural human immunity. In contrast to existing antibiotics, PolyMedix's lead antibiotic compound, brilacidin (formerly PMX-30063), was designed to exploit a method of bacterial cell killing, via biophysical membrane attack, against which bacteria have not shown development of resistance in multiple preclinical studies.
PolyMedix has internally developed an extensive pipeline of compounds, including other defensin-mimetic antimicrobial compounds for other infectious diseases, such as Gram-negative pathogens, fungal infections, and malaria; PolyCides®, antimicrobial additives to materials to create self-sterilizing products and surfaces; and delparantag (formerly PMX-60056), an anticoagulant reversing agent. PolyMedix's compounds have been internally discovered using a proprietary drug design technology. For more information, please visit PolyMedix's website at www.polymedix.com.
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This press release contains forward-looking statements made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 that involve risks, uncertainties and assumptions that could cause PolyMedix's actual results and experience to differ materially from anticipated results and expectations expressed in these forward looking statements. PolyMedix has in some cases identified forward-looking statements by using words such as "anticipates," "believes," "hopes," "estimates," "looks," "expects," "plans," "intends," "goal," "potential," "may," "suggest," and similar expressions. Among other factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed in forward-looking statements are PolyMedix's need for, and the availability of, substantial capital to fund its operations, planned clinical trials and research and development, and the fact that PolyMedix's compounds may not successfully complete pre-clinical or clinical testing, or be granted regulatory approval for planned trials or to be sold and marketed in the United States or elsewhere. A more complete description of these risk factors is included in PolyMedix's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. You should not place undue reliance on any forward-looking statements. PolyMedix undertakes no obligation to release publicly the results of any revisions to any such forward-looking statements that may be made to reflect events or circumstances after the date of this press release or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events, except as required by applicable law or regulation.
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