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WARF Granted New Antibiotics Patent

Madison — ConjuGon announces today that the U.S. Patent and Trade Office issued U.S. Patent No. 6,613,531 entitled “Sigma Binding Region of RNA Polymerase and Uses Thereof” to the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, the patent management agency of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. ConjuGon has an exclusive license to this important intellectual property invented by its co-founder Richard Burgess and his University of Wisconsin-Madison research group, which included ConjuGon scientist Larry Anthony. This patent could lead to a new class of antibiotics.

Bacteria cannot grow without RNA synthesis, and for RNA synthesis to occur in all bacteria, the transcription factor sigma must bind to the core RNA polymerase. This U.S. patent 6,613,531 is for a method of screening small-molecule compounds (drugs) that interfere with this binding.

“This target and screening method could lead to a new class of broad spectrum antibiotics,” said ConjuGon co-founder Richard Burgess, Ph.D., who was awarded the patent. “There has only been one new class of antibiotics approved for use in the last 40 years. This is also a very good target because bacteria must mutate in many places to evade a compound that interferes with this binding, thus reducing the chances that a bacteria will become resistant to an antibiotic found with the novel high-throughput screen.”

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