Office of Technology Transfer – University of Michigan

Inhibitors of Gram-negative bacterial growth, specifically uropathogenic E. coli

Technology #7133

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David H. Sherman
Managed By
Ed Pagani
Associate Director, Health Technologies 734-763-3558
Patent Protection
US Patent Pending

Center for Disease Control (CDC) has declared that one of the biggest public health concerns that we currently face is a gram-negative bacterium. These bacterium cause many diseases and are inherently hard to treat. In addition, these bacterium also adapt quickly and become resistant to most of the available antibacterial/ antibiotic drugs. In urinary tract infections (UTIs), E. coli is often the main causative gram-negative bacteria. UTIs result in 7-10 million doctor visits a year and can cost up to $1.6 billion in direct and indirect medical costs annually. To date, the primary treatment for a UTI is antibiotics. There is currently a need for more antibacterial/ antibiotic drugs to combat this and other gram-negative related diseases.

Novel inhibitor of gram-negative bacteria

During a screen of over 33,000 marine microbial derived natural products, a novel family of antibacterial compounds was found to inhibit growth of a wild type uropathogenic E. coli by over 90%. Additionally, these compounds require components found in pathogenic bacteria but not commensal bacteria, suggesting they will not cause harm to “good” bacteria. These novel compounds could provide a new treatment option for UTIs as well as other gram-negative bacteria related illnesses.


  • New antibacterial compound
  • Treatment of UTIs
  • Possible treatment of other gram-negative bacterial diseases


  • Natural compound
  • Doesn’t hurt commensal bacteria
  • Targeted towards gram-negative bacteria