Magazine article Drug Topics

Astra/Merck and AMBI vs. Ulcers and H. Pylori

Magazine article Drug Topics

Astra/Merck and AMBI vs. Ulcers and H. Pylori

Article excerpt

Applied Microbiology Inc. (AMBI), a New York-based biopharmaceutical company, and Astra/Merck are joining forces to develop new compounds for the treatment of ulcers.

Peter Blackburn, M.D., president and COO of AMBI, said the companies hope to collectively "develop and bring to market antimicrobial products and technologies to combat infectious disease," including ulcers. Astra/Merck officials said they expect to spend approximately $10 million to $15 million to develop and bring to market their first project in this joint venture, Ambicin (nisin).

Ambicin is an antimicrobial peptide bacteriocin that has shown to be effective against H. pylori in laboratory tests. In February, a National Institutes of Health consensus panel associated H. pylori with the development of peptic ulcers.

According to AMBI officials, nearly half of the American adult population and more than 90% of the adult populations of many developing countries carry the H. pylori bacterium.

The drug has been successfully used as a food preservative for many years in the United Kingdom, hence its safety profile has been established. Astra/Merck and AMBI hope the food preservative data will enable them to avoid conducting animal studies and commence clinical trials in early 1995. …

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