Antibacterial Adjuvants for Pseudomonas Aeruginosa

Web Published:


Antibacterial Adjuvants for Reduced Cationic Antimicrobial Peptide Dosing and Combination Therapy


Princeton Docket # 20-3616-1


        Researchers in the Department of Chemistry at Princeton University and the Department of Chemistry at San Jose State University have discovered compounds which increase the susceptibility of both CAP-resistant as well as non-resistant strains of P. aeruginosa to CAP antibiotic treatments. This technology functions by interfering with virulence factors that support both biofilm formation and the disruption of a host immune response.


        Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a pathogenic bacteria that was responsible for 32,600 infections and 2,700 deaths among hospitalized patients in the United States in 2017 alone. Antibiotic resistant strains of P. aeruginosa are an increasingly prevalent cause of serious secondary infections. The World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control have both classified resistant strains as public health threats. Cationic antimicrobial peptides (CAPs) are critical antibiotics that are currently used as a last resort antibiotic treatment for multidrug resistant infections. With global CAP resistance on the rise, novel P. aeruginosa treatments that counteract this mechanism are needed.


        This technology represents a significant step forward as a combination therapy with existing CAP treatments, and has an immediate application in the treatment of CAP-resistant P. aeruginosa infections. Additionally, it will enhance the treatment of non-resistant strains by reducing the required CAP dosage, thus reducing negative side effects associated with large CAP doses, such as impaired kidney function.



       -Treating CAP-resistant strains of P. aeruginosa

       -Treating P. aeruginosa infections in patients experiencing side effects from large CAP doses

       -Potential for use in other gram negative pathogens



       -Reduces required CAP doses in P. aeruginosa infections

       -Widens the therapeutic index of CAP treatments

       -Remains effective under resistance-inducing conditions



Intellectual Property & Development Status


Patent protection is pending.


Princeton is currently seeking commercial partners for the further development and commercialization of this opportunity.





Zhang Z, et al. 2020. Photoaffinity approach to determine the molecular target of antipyocyanin compounds reveals antibiotic adjuvant activity. In Prep.



The Inventors


Laura Miller Conrad is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry at SJSU. Her group uses organic chemistry and molecular biology techniques to combat Pseudomonas virulence.


Martin F. Semmelhack is a Professor of Chemistry and Associate Chair in the Department of Chemistry at Princeton University. His group is focused on the application of organic chemistry to solving biological problems. He is the recipient of a number of prestigious awards, including the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellowship, and a Guggenheim Fellowship.


Zinan Zhang is a graduate student at Cambridge University with the Ken Smith Laboratory.


Minh Tran is a graduate student at UCSF in the Chemistry and Chemical Biology program.


Lauren Blankenship is a graduate student at Texas A&M in the Wenshe Liu Laboratory.






Laurie J. Tzodikov

Princeton University Office of Technology Licensing

(609) 258-7256 •


Sean King

Princeton University Office of Technology Licensing









Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Cortney Cavanaugh
New Ventures and licensing associate
Princeton University
Laura Conrad
Martin Semmelhack
Zinan Zhang
Minh Tran
Lauren Blankenship