Natural Antibiotic to Treat Clostridium Infection and More

Timothy, Bugni, Thomas Wyche, Douglas Braun, Jeff Piotrowski, Nasia Safdar

Bacterial resistance to antibiotics is an escalating problem, especially in hospital settings. The Centers for Disease Control recently identified Clostridium difficile as posing an “urgent” health threat, highlighting the need for new and effective therapeutics. C. difficile is the most common cause of nosocomial infectious diarrhea. The bacteria sicken half a million people each year and 20 percent of patients get sick again following treatment.

The Invention

UW–Madison researchers have identified a potential new antibiotic to treat infections caused by C. difficile, Staphylococcus and other drug-resistant strains. The compound is a natural product called ecteinamycin. It was discovered and isolated from a sea squirt bacterium (Actinomadura). Preliminary data suggests ecteinamycin is potent, selective and able to protect cells against bacterial toxins.

Key Benefits
  • Potential new weapon against dangerous and drug-resistant bacteria
  • May be superior to available antibiotics
  • Novel antibiotic to fight Gram-positive/negative bacteria, including C. difficile, methicillin-resistant S. aureus and vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus
Stage of Development

Ecteinamycin has demonstrated potent in vitro activity against C. difficile. It showed greater potency than vancomycin (the “last resort” drug) against several different Gram-positive bacteria.

Additional Information
Technology Contact

For current licensing status, please contact Rafael Diaz at or (608) 265-9861.

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