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Breathing new life into antibiotics

Ipsat Therapies is developing a proprietary family of IPSAT (Intestinal Protection System in Antibiotic Treatment) products designed to prevent hospital infections and antibiotic resistance.

Antibiotic resistance is recognised as a major and growing problem worldwide in managing infectious disease, and is being reflected in a rapid decline in the effectiveness of today’s most potent antibiotics. As resistance to antibiotics grows, and the hope for new antibiotics capable of combating this type of resistance diminishes, the need to maintain the efficacy of today’s antibiotics will become increasingly critical.

Infections due to multidrug–resistant strains of human pathogens are particularly common in hospitals where antibiotic use is heavy and patients suffer from serious infections and compromised immune systems. Ipsat Therapies is primarily targeting this market and focusing on preventing pathogen colonisation and subsequent secondary infections, as well as the gastrointestinal disturbance and antibioticassociated diarrhoea (AAD) that often accompany antibiotic administration.

Ipsat’s strategy is to target patient groups where treatment is typically empirical and the underlying pathogen unidentified, and where antibiotic efficacy and safety are of utmost importance.

Ipsat’s approach aims at preventing colonisation of the large intestine with harmful and resistant bacterial strains, allowing normal intestinal microflora to be maintained during antibiotic treatment.

A novel concept

Antibiotics have been shown to have a significant negative impact on the population of different types of microbes in the gastrointestinal tract. This leads to significant changes in intestinal defence mechanisms.

Enzymatic inactivation of the intravenously administered antibiotics that are secreted into the gastrointestinal tract via bile results in the preservation of colonisation resistance and the subsequent prevention of problems and infections caused by antibiotic-resistant pathogens. The latter can include Clostridium difficile, ESBL-producing Enterobacteriacacae, and Candida, as well as Vancomycin-Resistant Enterococci (VRE).

Ipsat’s approach is to use orally active betalactamases-enzymes that degrade unabsorbed betalactam antibiotics (penicillins, cefalosporines, and carbapenems) in the gastrointestinal tract – to prevent the cascade of events leading to colonisation and secondary, antibiotic-related infections.

Phase II clinical studies in patients treated with ampicillin using Ipsat’s most advanced product, P1A, have yielded the level of efficacy and safety expected, and a second Phase II study, in ICU patients treated with piperacillin, is now under way. This will focus on the prevention of nosocomial secondary infections caused by the intravenous administration of betalactam and the reduction of colonisation rates and antibiotic-associated diarrhoea.

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(Published in HighTech Finland 2009)