Featured Article 04 Oct 2016

With the global industrial use of antibiotics in farming and their over-prescription in general medicine, we are now facing a period wherein our current stockpile of antibiotics could be rendered ineffective – commonly called the post-antibiotic era.

This would spell disaster for humanity, as common infections like C. difficile would soon become life-threatening conditions. The potential outcome has already been estimated to cost $1.5bn per year, according to the World Health Organisation.

Thankfully, teams of researchers across the globe are working on potential antibiotic alternatives, including a team from Cork’s APC Microbiome Institute.

Publishing its latest findings in the journal Microbiology, the Cork team has revealed that it has formulated a new antimicrobial called formicin.

Formicin is a bacteriocin (a small bacterially-produced antimicrobial protein) and is a member of a subclass of bacteriocins called lantibiotics (a class of peptide antibiotics) which contain certain modified amino acids.

What makes formicin unique among lantibiotics are the differences in the peptide’s charge and composition.

In this case, the first peptide likely binds to the cell membrane of the bacterial target and subsequently recruits the second formicin peptide, which then inserts into the membrane.

The resulting action will then form a pore that kills the harmful cells.

Spun-out company formed

This latest potential antibiotic solution was found during the APC Microbiome Institute’s latest screening that includes 20 new small proteins including thuricin and lacticin 3147.

“The new antimicrobial, Formicin, was isolated from Bacillus paralicheniformis APC1576, a bacteria which was originally isolated from the intestine of a mackerel,” said Fergus Collins, the PhD student who discovered Formicin.

“Formicin can kill a wide range of harmful bacteria including the Gram-positive pathogens Staphylococcous aureus, Clostridium difficile, Listeria monocytogenes and Steptococcusmutans, a causative agent of tooth decay.”

Prof Paul Ross, who led the team’s research, has now confirmed that it has spun out a new company called Artugen Therapeutics to develop a range of future antibiotic candidates.

Colm Gorey

This article originally appeared on www.siliconrepublic.com and can be found at:


Contact us

Contact IDA Ireland

You'll find us responsive to your needs, proactive, professional and willing to go the extra mile.

Contact IDA Ireland

International Offices

We have 28 Offices worldwide helping support companies expand their operations in Ireland.

Find your nearest office

Cookie Notification

We use necessary cookies to run our website. We also use cookies for analytical and advertising purposes. More information on what cookies we use can be found here. To consent to the use of ALL cookies click “I Accept”. You may visit Cookies Preference to manage which cookies we may use.

Go to Privacy Centre