With New Antibiotic in Hand, RQx Pharmaceuticals Looks for Partner

Xconomy San Diego — 

The genesis of San Diego’s RQx Pharmaceuticals began in 2010, with a chance encounter by two strangers at Zumbar Coffee & Tea in Sorrento Valley.

Floyd Romesberg says he likes to start his day at Zumbar because it’s a good place to get some paperwork done before he heads into The Scripps Research Institute, where his lab is focused on biological and biophysical chemistry, particularly on the processes affected by the forces of evolution. Court Turner, who is a life sciences venture partner at San Diego’s Avalon Ventures, also hangs out at Zumbar before work.

They had noticed each other before, but never spoke—until one day when Romesberg says their eyes met after he overheard Turner in an extended, biotech-themed conversation. Romesberg says he asked the young stranger, “So you’re a VC?”

TSRI Associate Professor of Chemistry Floyd Romesberg

Floyd Romesberg

In their ensuing conversation, Romesberg outlined his interest in antibiotics, a field of growing concern among healthcare providers due to the increasing number of drug-resistant pathogens. MRSA, also known as multidrug-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, may be the best known example of these infectious killers because of its prevalence in hospitals. But it is just one in a group of troubling, drug-resistant microbes known as the “ESKAPE” pathogens, for E. faecium, S. aureus, K. pneumoniae, A. baumanii, P. aeruginosa and E. coli.

Romesberg said his lab had made a breakthrough with arylomycin, a compound found in nature that was known to work as an antibiotic on just a few types of bacteria. Eli Lilly, Bristol-Myers Squibb, GlaxoSmithKline, and other pharma giants had tried for … Next Page »

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