ContraFect Corp. believes a class of enzymes called lysins, which break open the cell walls of Gram-positive bacteria, could enhance the efficacy of low doses of conventional antibiotics while avoiding side effects and the development of resistance.

Lysins cleave bonds in the bacterial cell wall's peptidoglycan to cause cytolysis. The peptidoglycan is a mesh-like layer of sugars and amino acids that acts as the structural component of the cell wall. Lysins, also called peptidoglycan hydrolases, naturally occur in bacteriophages, which use them to punch a hole in the host bacterium's cell wall to release progeny virions.