Antibacterial activity of natural compounds and their synthetic analogue: A potential new antibiotic with potent activity against multiple drug resistant bacterial pathogens

Case ID:

Our researchers have developed novel compounds that are potential new anti-infective therapeutics useful for treatment against the deadly bacteria MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), VRE (vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium), and several other well-known common infectious agents.

Background & Unmet Need:

Before antibiotics became available in the 1940s, the major causes of death were infectious diseases.  The availability of antibiotics changed that, but organisms have evolved resistance mechanisms faster than we have developed new antibiotics.  The financial and emotional cost related to antibiotic resistance is enormous.  Approximately 70% of bacteria that cause bloodstream or lung infections in hospitals have developed resistance to at least one antimicrobial drug.  The emergence of multi drug resistant (MDR) bacteria is very problematic for patients and health care professionals.  A study of antibiotic development found that in 2008, only 15 antibiotics of 167 under development had a new mechanism of action with the potential to meet the challenge of multidrug resistance.

Technology Description:

Due to the immediate need for new antibiotics to fight infections, our researchers have studied the derivatives of a natural compound (HND).  The derivatives were tested to determine their antibacterial activity against 5 of the 6 organisms identified by Infectious Disease Society of America as being most problematic:  vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium (VRE), methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), Klebsiella pneumonia, Acinetobacter baumannii, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa.  From the large number of HNDs tested, our researchers have identified 3 compounds that have potent antibacterial activity at low concentrations.  These three compounds, HND18, HND19 and HND21, could be potential antibiotics for treatment of MRSA and VRE infections.  HND derivatives represent a previously untested class of compounds.  The parent compound has been in human use for thousands of years and is regarded as safe and non-toxic.  Because they are not of bacterial origin, the chance for intrinsic bacterial resistance is reduced.


Commercial Applications:



Stage of Development:

Pre-clinical, cell culture studies done


Competitive Advantages:

  • Not derived from bacteria, lower possibility of bacterial resistance
  • Naturally occurring compound; safe and non-toxic
  • Target different than currently available antibiotics


Intellectual Property Status:

Patent application filed


Related Publications and Citations of Work




Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Ken Massey
Wayne State University
Hossein Salimnia
Fazlul Sarkar
Subhash Padhye
Bernhard Biersack
Analog or Analogue