Companies could produce new antibiotics faster and more reliably if they had better tools to identify target bacterial proteins that are essential to virulence in mammals. Cubist Pharmaceuticals Inc. believes that its peptide selection and expression approach will be useful for pathogen target validation and discovery of small molecule antibiotics.

CBST researchers last week published, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the company's Validation In Vivo of Targets and Assays for Antiinfectives (VITA) technology. VITA uses peptides selected in vitro that bind to potential pathogen targets, combined with inducible expression of the peptides in a virulent bacterial strain, to validate targets derived from genomic studies.