New from the 41st meeting of the Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (ICAAC) held in Chicago:

¿ Genome Therapeutics Corp., of Waltham, Mass., reported the antibacterial effects of its lead clinical candidate Ramoplanin. Data demonstrate the in vitro activity of Ramoplanin against disease causing Gram-positive bacteria and relative inactivity against the Gram-negative bacteria that are part of the normal gastrointestinal flora. Ramoplanin is a novel glycolipodepsipeptide antibiotic in Phase III development for the prevention of bloodstream infections caused by the Gram-positive bacteria, vancomycin-resistant enterococci. Previous Phase II data indicate that Ramoplanin suppressed VRE in the gastrointestinal tract.

¿ IntraBiotics Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Mountain View, Calif., released data on its lead compound, iseganan, showing that it rapidly forms channels in the bacterial membrane, creating a severe imbalance in osmotic forces that lead to explosions of the membrane. The studies show that iseganan kills microbes through a dramatic and irreversible process within minutes. Furthermore, iseganan kills both Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria, the company said.

¿ Invenux Inc., of Denver, disclosed its discovery of two novel monobactams that are potent penicillin-binding protein 2a (PBP2a) inhibitors. Monobactam antibiotics traditionally have been ineffective for the treatment of Gram-positive infections, including those caused by staphylococcus or streptococcus bacteria. These recently discovered next-generation monobactams appear to be broader-spectrum antibiotics and may have activity against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.

¿ Stressgen Biotechnologies Corp., of Victoria, British Columbia, presented final data from its Phase II low-dose and high-dose HspE7 clinical trials in anal dysplasia. At three months, 67 percent of those who received a high dose improved from high-grade dysplasia, a precursor to cancer, to low-grade dysplasia, requiring no surgery. After six months, 76 percent improved to low-grade dysplasia. In the low-dose study, there was no difference in the rate of response between patients who received the low dose of HspE7 (100 mcg x 3) and patients who received placebo. Prior treatment at the low dose did not improve the treatment response to the high dose of HspE7 (500 mcg x 3).

¿ Tibotec-Virco NV, of Mechelen, Belgium, reported progress in the discovery and development of novel HIV therapeutics as well as the relevance of resistance testing systems in HIV management. Data presented on the strong antiviral effects and HIV-1 resistance profile of Tibotec-Virco¿s next-generation non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor, TMC125. Additional studies reported on the safety, pharmacokinetics and tolerability of Tibotec-Virco¿s candidate protease inhibitor, TMC114, against both wild-type and resistant HIV.

¿ Visible Genetics Inc., of Toronto, presented data indicating its Trugene HIV-1 Genotyping Test can be used to detect HIV drug resistance even when there are only very low levels of the virus present in a patient¿s blood. This suggests that the Trugene test might be of use in patients with early treatment failure, avoiding the anxiety of waiting until the levels of virus increase further before testing for resistance, the company said.