Taking a hint from natural antibiotics, a startup spun out of Stanford University is developing a way to chemically alter existing drugs to dramatically improve their half-life
By sequestering the drugs within cells, the researchers hope to protect them from the bodys efforts to destroy them. So far, the company has developed long-lasting versions of a protease inhibitor to fight HIV, as well as the antibiotic carbapenem. Amplyx is now developing new versions of a number of drugs that fight infection, and aims to test them in clinical trials within the next two years.
Hiding drugs: In this human blood smear, a modified protease inhibitor shown in green is sequestered inside a white blood cell. The cell’s DNA is shown in blue. The drug slowly leaches out into the plasma, greatly extending the drug’s half-life.Credit: Paul MerrinakResearchers at Amplyx Pharmaceuticals decorate drug compounds with molecules designed to bind to specific proteins within cells, as well as binding to the drugs treatment target.