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Trana Discovery Announces Availability of Staphylococcus Aureus Drug Discovery Assay


6/27/2011 11:24:52 AM

CARY, NC (June 27, 2011) – Trana Discovery, Inc., a drug discovery technology company, today announced the availability of a new High-Throughput Screening (HTS) assay capable of selectively identifying compounds that inhibit the reproduction of Staphylococcus aureus bacteria through a unique mechanism of action: the inhibition of the bacteria’s ability to use a specific transfer RNA (tRNA) in protein synthesis. The assay opens the door for the discovery and development of critically-needed treatments of Staphylococcus aureus infections.

The need for new effective antibiotics to treat infections caused by S. aureus bacteria, including virulent strains such as Methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA), has never been more evident. Unfortunately, only a limited number of truly novel antibiotic classes have been discovered and developed during the past 30 years. The vast majority of new antibiotics were merely structurally modified derivatives of existing chemical scaffolds, each of which still worked by the respective parent compound legacy mechanism of action and whose avoidance of resistance mechanisms by target pathogens was usually short-lived. Accordingly, the real solution for discovery and development of highly active and durable antibiotics targeted against these resistant bacteria is to exploit novel targets and novel chemical structures that interact with them.

The Trana Staphylococcus aureus 201 High-Throughput (HTS) Assay identifies compounds that inhibit the essential use of a non-human S. aureus tRNAArg that is required for protein synthesis. The assay identifies compounds that interfere with the interaction of an oligonucleotide mimic of the ASL loop of tRNAArg with a programmed ribosome.

During validation runs, the assay was used to screen a 60,000 compound library from which 283 compounds were initially identified. These compounds were retested in a dose response curve and 89 compounds were confirmed as biochemically active. Thirty-eight of these compounds were selected based on an acceptable IC50 concentration and tested in a bacterial assay where eight compounds demonstrated activity against two or more strains of S. aureus. The assay is now fully HTS functional and is immediately available for licensing.

“Staph aureus is a major public health concern. A unique target appears to be a logical approach to overcoming resistance in these clinically important pathogens,” said Steve Peterson, CEO of Trana Discovery. “Trana Discovery technology and intellectual property offers the opportunity for exclusive licensing of this Staph aureus assay and, in turn, full ownership of new classes of anti-infectives discovered through its application.”

Development and commercialization of the assay was made possible by a small business research loan awarded by the North Carolina Biotechnology Center.

A white paper is available for downloading that describes the assay and validation runs in detail: Trana Discovery Staphylococcus aureus 201 HTS Assay White Paper.

In addition to the new S. aureus HTS assay, Trana has developed the Trana HIV 201 assay that is capable of identifying compounds that interfere with the use of tRNA by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the cause of AIDS. Organizations interested in licensing either assay should contact Trana at info@tranadiscovery.com or by calling 866-390-3452 (toll free) or +1-919-342-6192.

About Trana Discovery, Inc.

Trana Discovery, an anti-infective drug discovery technology company, helps its partners find new classes of drugs for the treatment of serious bacterial, viral, and fungal infectious diseases. Our proprietary assays identify compounds that work through a unique mechanism of action: inhibition of the target pathogen’s ability to use transfer RNA (tRNA) essential for propagation. The use of high-throughput screening assays developed by Trana Discovery will reduce the cost and time for drug discovery. Our assays provide licensing opportunities for exclusive rights to new drug classes. Trana Discovery has licensed the patented technology emanating from 20 years of research conducted at North Carolina State University, and holds patents that expand on this core technology and its use in high-throughput screening. The company is located in Cary, North Carolina. For more information, please visit www.tranadiscovery.com.



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