Alimentary Health Ltd. (Alimentary Health), the specialty gastrointestinal company, is pleased to note the announcement from University College Cork (UCC) on 28 June 2010 that an antibiotic licensed to Alimentary Health, thuricin CD, has been identified to be effective against the hospital-acquired superbug Clostridium difficile.
Thuricin CD is licensed to Alimentary Health by UCC’s Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre (APC).
The discovery was made by scientists at UCC, Teagasc and the University of Alberta (Canada). The research, funded by Science Foundation Ireland, has been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA, one of the world's most-cited and prestigious multidisciplinary scientific journals.
C. difficile is the most rapidly increasing hospital-acquired illness in the Western world and is a major cause of death, particularly in the elderly. It is estimated that the annual cost of treating the diarrhea (CDAD) associated with C. difficile amounts to €3 billion in the EU alone.
C. difficile infections arise as a direct result of disturbing gut bacteria following antibiotic treatment. Current antibiotics of choice for the treatment of the diarrhea (CDAD) associated with C. difficile are the broad spectrum antibiotics vancomycin or metronidazole, but treatment failures and recurrence of infection are common. The emergence of strains with increased resistance to these antibiotics has also been reported.
The new antibiotic (antimicrobial peptide) could reduce the risk of disease recurrence compared with that of broad-spectrum antibiotic treatment because it spares the normal gut flora that helps limit C. difficile growth.
Barry Kiely, Chief Executive Officer of Alimentary Health, said: “We are delighted with the results of this research. It is of significant value to Alimentary Health to be associated with research and scientists of this calibre. We look forward to pursuing the development of this important asset and we will be actively seeking partners to assist us in bringing this product into the clinic.”
Colin Hill, a professor of microbial food safety in the APC, said “Recovery of normal gut flora is important for recovery from C. difficile-associated disease, but the use of broad spectrum antibiotics can delay this process.”
In May 2009 Procter & Gamble (P&G) announced the nationwide launch in the US of Align®, a daily probiotic supplement clinically proven to naturally defend against episodic digestive upsets. Align contains Bifidobacterium infantis 35624, Alimentary Health’s probiotic technology trademarked by P&G as Bifantis®.