Texas Tech Enters License Agreement for Technology That Combats Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria

When used in conjunction with certain antibiotics, the aptamers overcome enzymes produced by resistant bacteria that allow them to survive exposure to antibiotics.

Officials at Texas Tech University System’s Office of Technology Commercialization announced Wednesday (June 9) the signing of an exclusive worldwide license agreement for a chemical additive called an aptamer that makes certain existing antibiotics viable against antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The agreement is with RI Scientific LLC for the development and commercialization of metallo-beta-lactamase inhibitors, short chains of nucleic acid that have demonstrated the ability to eliminate bacterial resistance to antibiotics. “This technology is extremely important in terms of the number of people who can benefit from it,” said David L. Miller, vice chancellor for commercialization. “We believe that RI Scientific has the ability to work with a number of pharmaceutical companies through the clinical testing process to have the aptamers incorporated into many of the commonly used antibiotics that the medical community now depends on.” The patented technology was developed by Robert W. Shaw, acting chairman of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Texas Tech, and Sung-Kun Kim, an assistant professor at Baylor University. “The use of this aptamer may turn back the clock for many existing antibiotics that have lost their effectiveness due to the emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacterial strains,” Shaw said. “Beta-lactam antibiotics, such as penicillins and cephalosporins, account for billions of dollars in annual sales in the United States alone.  Antibiotic-resistant bacteria present a major problem to the medical and pharmaceutical industries.” When used in conjunction with these antibiotics, the aptamers overcome enzymes produced by resistant bacteria that allow them to survive exposure to antibiotics. RI Scientific LLC is a biotechnology consulting company based in Cranston, R.I. It’s focused on discovering and commercializing drug therapeutics. “We are looking forward to working with Dr. Shaw in our pre-clinical studies to validate this technology” said Gavin Scotti, chief executive officer of RI Scientific LLC.  “We believe this technology holds the promise of helping many pharmaceutical companies maintain the effectiveness of drug portfolios they have spent many years and millions of dollars to develop.” CONTACT: Amber Dean, associate managing director, Office of Technology Commercialization, Texas Tech University System, (806) 742-4109 or amber.dean@ttu.edu.