First success with new antibiotic class from under the sea


Startup-News: Austrian SeaLife is addressing 21st century health concerns
Biotech startup SeaLife registered first promising results with their drug against multi-resistant bacteria. Components discovered in the sea, the novel antibiotic class (SLP0905) was tested in laboratory and proved effective against dangerous pathogens such as MRSA, Streptococcus or Enterococci. In the future, this drug could be an alternative to conventional antibiotics with the advantage of fighting even superbugs.

Tackling multi-drug resistance
A great part of the ocean still remains unexplored and no one knows what might hide there. Besides common expectations of giant kraken and massive fish, marine biologist Alexander Pretsch made it his business to find out more about the sea by focusing on lower animals, in fact for pharmaceutical reasons. Some of those beings live completely without immune system, which makes them interesting for medical research.

So, SeaLife was able to develop substances that fight germs and bacteria and could be used where existing antibiotics have no effect anymore. “Nowadays most novel compounds are just ‘me too drugs’ without new mode of action. These drugs could be easily neutralised by lots of bacteria and would not be the solution for the antibiotic resistance problems of our time,” CEO Alexander Pretsch described one of today’s major health concerns he aims to tackle.

Marine active agents will enter clinical study in 2015/2016
The drug is still in pre-clinical phase which means that a lot of tests and studies are still to be done before it can be sold as a medical substance. “Our business strategy is to develop these candidates to a certain clinical stage and partner then with a strategically pharmaceutical company that brings the novel drug on the market,” Pretsch explained further steps of SeaLife. A clinical study with first intravenous subject groups is planned for 2015/2016 and will be done with the help of the Medical University and the General Hospital in Vienna.

Besides the antibiotics, SeaLife also takes measures for preventive germ killing by developing biocides and disinfectants. “In the next month we will go on in our systemically antibiotic development and bring a new polymeric candidate for wound disinfection,“ Pretsch revealed.

SeaLife was founded in 2008 in Tulln, Austria. The team of ten consists of biologists, drug developers, sea experts and focuses on innovative solutions on the biotech market. Their products rely on active agents from under water and a novel approach of cultivating them. Since 2011 technet equity, PP-Capital and the Austrian FFG support the healthcare startup.

Photo: Andreas Krem and Alexander Pretsch from Sealife

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