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Targeting drug-resistant diseases with dual-action drugs
DesignMedix, Inc. develops drugs to address the large medical need caused by the rapid rise in drug resistance in multiple diseases. Diseases like malaria and diarrhea kill millions of people each year and cause untold suffering. The World Health Organization considers drug-resistance to be one of the top three threats to human health today. From the miracle drugs of almost 100 years ago, we are now facing super bugs that can withstand many of the antibiotics that we have available. Because the regular drugs no longer work, costs are rising with the use of stronger drugs and more people are dying when even the strongest therapies do not kill the resistant pathogens. Using proprietary technology, DesignMedix is developing novel drugs to help efforts to alleviate and eliminate these infections.

DesignMedix focuses on globally-important infectious diseases where additional drugs are urgently needed. Each year, there are over 250 million cases of malaria and over 4 billion cases of bacterial diarrhea and these diseases cause over 3 million deaths worldwide. The malaria parasites and bacteria that cause these diseases are increasingly resistant to treatment with normal drugs, with resistance showing in up to 70% of bacteria and up to 90% of malaria parasites. 
Increasing resistance of 
drug resistant bacteria
We cannot develop drugs fast enough. According to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation of the 13 new antibiotics approved by the FDA in the past 10 years, only three target the most serious conditions: blood infections and hospital-acquired pneumonia. The others are generally used to treat self-limiting infections. A task force created by the Infectious Disease Society identified six high-priority pathogens they consider most in need of new antimicrobials. These include Acinetobacter baumannii, Aspergillus spp.; ESBL-producing E. coli  and Klebsiella spp.; GVRE; Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and MRSA.

In the US, Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA and other drug-resistant super bugs cause over 2 million new cases and 100,000 deaths each year. Current antibiotics often are ineffective because of growing drug resistance, leading to increasing disease burden and deaths.

Traveler’s diarrhea is the most common illness affecting travelers. Each year an estimated 10 million people (between 20%-50% of international travelers) develop diarrhea. Recent studies have shown that level of fluoroquinolone resistance in pathogens, that cause diarrhea (most commonly E. Coli strains), has increased considerably over the last decade among travelers to Mexico, Guatemala, and India.

Based on technology originally developed at Portland State University and exclusively licensed to DesignMedix, the company has developed a proprietary approach to the rapid development of novel drug candidates to overcome drug resistance.  This approach has resulted in lead drug candidates for malaria (both cure and prevention) and bacteria (e.g. MRSA).

General Information
Larvae of Culex Mosquitoes. 
Source: James Gathany, CDC