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3 September, 2015 - 06:02 By Kate Sweeney

Antibiotic-resistant bugs meet their nemesis

Nemesis Bioscience

Nemesis Bioscience in Cambridge has received an unspecified funding award from the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK to develop and protect a novel method for the delivery of polynucleotides, including therapeutics, into bacteria.

Nemesis has invented, developed and protected a family of novel biological therapeutic agents that inactivate resistance to antibiotics, allowing well-established safe generic antibiotics to be effective again.

The company has proven in the laboratory that its Nemesis Symbiotics convert antimicrobial resistant (AMR) bacteria to antibiotic sensitivity and also prevent bacteria from acquiring AMR. This opens the possibility of protecting patients pre-operatively, or even pre-admission, to lower the risks of subsequent AMR infection.

To date, delivery systems into target bacteria have been developed for these Nemesis Symbiotics using different vehicles for either treatment or protection. A single delivery method for both treatment and protection in a clinical setting is essential for clinical utility and economic feasibility.

The company has now invented such a delivery mechanism – Transmids – that can be used clinically in the main focus areas of overcoming and preventing AMR without needing separate delivery mechanisms. However, the unique properties of Transmids also may make them ideal for use in existing synthetic biology and industrial microbiology applications where manipulation of bacterial genetics is fundamental – for example, the microbial production of biochemicals, biofuels and therapeutics.

Nemesis CEO Dr Frank Massam said: “This Smart Award will help us to efficiently evaluate and develop our new Transmid technology not only for the clinical delivery of our range of therapeutics but also for economically important synthetic biology applications.”

This summer, Nemesis raised £300,000 in seed funding from a consortium of angel investors and from Finance Wales. The company, founded in 2013, has opened a new therapeutic development facility in the Medicentre located at the University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff. The company is retaining its research laboratory on the Babraham Research Campus, Cambridge.

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