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Commercialization of antifungal peptides

There remains an urgent and very much unmet medical need for new antifungal therapies.
Ideally, the next generation of treatments for nosocomial and community-acquired infec-
tions, including those caused by Candida spp, Aspergillus spp, Cryptococcus spp and Fusarium
spp, will be more efficacious, with higher therapeutic indices and broader activity spectra
than existing antifungal drug classes. Moreover, future antifungal therapeutics should
have novel modes of action/drug targets that at least minimise, if not negate, the risk of
acquired resistance developing in their target fungal pathogen populations. In short, devel-
oping the next generation of antifungals is a tall order and whoever is successful in doing
so must address the various and well-described shortcomings of what remains at present,
a very limited choice of largely small molecule-based therapeutics against the fungal infec-
tion spectrum. Novel peptide antifungals engineered from a template of mammalian,
amphibian and even insect endogenous antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) have clear potential
to meet these requirements and consequent clinical success in a range of fungal diseases.
This potential will hopefully be realised in the future as any number of the promising
preclinical candidate antifungal peptides identified to date are developed further towards
the clinic. The size of the ever-increasing market potential as well as unmet clinical
need for new antifungal treatments is such that succeeding in delivering novel peptide
antifungals as safe and potently efficacious therapies for the future will have a significant
health-economic impact.

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