By Donald Zuhn --
Helix BioMedix, Inc. announced that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has issued U.S. Patent No. 7,407,940, which is directed to hexapeptides that exhibit antimicrobial activity against infections caused by a variety of pathogens. According to Helix Biomedix's statement, the '940 patent covers a family of hexapeptide antimicrobial agents, including the company's lead pre-clinical candidate HB1345, for use as broad spectrum topical anti-infectives.
The Bothell, WA-based biopharmaceutical company noted that HB1345 will be initially developed for dermatological indications such as acne, rosacea, and atopic dermatitis, and then subsequently for the prevention of hospital acquired infections such as those caused by MRSA and other multi-resistant pathogens. Helix BioMedix President and CEO R. Stephen Beatty called the '940 patent "one of the most important patents in the company's history," adding that "HB1345 will serve as a pivotal step in the company's development and a key driver of the company's future growth."
The company's press release indicates that according to the American Academy of Dermatology, acne is the most common skin disorder in the United States, affecting 40 to 50 million Americans, and that the topical prescription acne market has been estimated to exceed $1.2 billion annually. The US National Rosacea Society estimates that 14 million Americans are affected by rosacea. Finally, according to the National Institutes of Health, 20% of infants and young children experience symptoms of atopic dermatitis and an estimated 15 million people in the U.S. have symptoms of the disease. More than $1 billion per year is currently being spent to treat this disease.
Helix BioMedix possesses a library of bioactive peptides covering six distinct classes and hundreds of thousands of peptide sequences which it uses in the development of topically-applied health products. The '940 patent was the ninth U.S. patent to be awarded to Helix BioMedix, which is also named as an assignee on two U.S. patent application publications.
The '940 patent issued from U.S. Application No. 11/350,192, filed February 8, 2006, which claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/651,270, filed February 9, 2005. Independent claims 1, 21, and 22 of the '940 patent recites:
1. A hexapeptide comprising the amino acid sequence given by the formula XBXBOB, wherein X is selected from the group consisting of Arginine (R) and Lysine (K); B is selected from the group consisting of Phenylalanine (F) and Tryptophan (W); and O is selected from the group consisting of naphthylalanine (Nal), Proline (P), and Phenylalanine (F).
21. A method of inhibiting the growth of a fungal cell comprising:
contacting said fungal cell with an effective amount of a hexapeptide comprising the amino acid sequence given by the formula XBXBOB; wherein X is a charged residue, B is a hydrophobic residue, and O is a naphthylalanine, an aliphatic, or an aromatic residue; and wherein said fungal cell is a plant pathogen selected from the group consisting of Mycosphaerella brassicicola, Pyrenopeziza brassicae, Peronospora destructor, and Botrytis squamosa.
22. A method of inhibiting the growth of a fungal cell comprising:
contacting said fungal cell with an effective amount of a hexapeptide comprising the amino acid sequence given by the formula XBXBOB; wherein X is a charged residue, B is a hydrophobic residue, and 0 is a naphthylalanine, an aliphatic, or an aromatic residue; and wherein said fungal cell is selected from the group consisting of Trichophyton rubrum, and Trichophyton mentagrophytes.