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12:00 AM
 | 
Jun 06, 2011
 |  BioCentury  |  Emerging Company Profile

Indel: Vive la difference

Indel going after drug-resistant bacteria with new targets

Bacterial proteins that have close homologs in humans have largely been ignored as drug targets due to safety concerns. Indel Therapeutics Inc. thinks it has a way to safely target these proteins, opening up a new field of targets for infectious diseases. The company is starting with drug-resistant bacteria.

The Indel platform technology, which it licensed out of the University of British Columbia, identifies specific amino acid sequences that differ between the human and bacterial versions of a protein, called insertion/deletion (indel) differences. The company believes that targeting indels could allow for therapeutic activity against the bacterial version without unwanted side effects in humans.

In choosing a potential target, Indel first compares the human and pathogen genomes to find an evolutionarily conserved protein with indels.

According to CEO Malcolm Kendall, such proteins usually have been conserved because they are essential for survival. Targeting them could thus lead to cell death.

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