Dr. Ron Najafi, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of NovaBay Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NYSE MKT: NBY) is calling for a new approach to tackle the growing crisis of antibiotic resistance. A groundbreaking report just released by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has found that each year, more than 2 million people in the U.S. become infected with bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics. More than 23,000 of them die from those infections.
The conventional response to this crisis is to develop new antibiotics, Dr. Najafi explained. But creating new antibiotics is difficult and microbes quickly adapt and become resistant to even the most powerful news drugs. Some strains of disease-causing bacteria now are resistant to every antibiotic available. The cost of resistance is now $20 billion per year in excess direct health care spending, plus as much as $35 billion a year in lost productivity, according to the CDC.
That’s why Dr. Najafi and NovaBay are suggesting a new approach. “Our novel approach to this crisis is to create next-generation, synthetic molecules that mimic the natural agents that our bodies use to fight infection and do not give rise to resistance,” said Dr. Najafi.
NovaBay has described this approach in a response to the FDA’s industry request for comments regarding anti-bacterial therapies. The development of non-antibiotic antimicrobials would allow classical, topical antibiotics to be replaced with these new treatments. “Reducing a portion of the massive quantity of antibiotics now being used and that find their way into the environment has the potential to significantly slow the development of antibiotic resistance,” said Dr. Najafi.
NovaBay’s approach would help achieve one of the CDC’s main recommendations: use fewer antibiotics. The CDC report points out that bacteria naturally evolve to be resistant to drugs, so resistance “can be slowed but not completely stopped.” The way to slow the development of that resistance is to use antibiotics less frequently. Yet now, the CDC notes, up to half of antibiotic use in humans and much of antibiotic use in animal feed is unnecessary. The CDC report, Antibiotic Resistance Threats in the United States, 2013, is available here.
For more information on NovaBay’s call to action regarding the growing crisis of antibiotic resistance and the potential sources for antibiotic resistance, please see Dr. Najafi’s blog post.
About NovaBay Pharmaceuticals, Inc.: Going Beyond Antibiotics
NovaBay Pharmaceuticals is an advanced clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on addressing the large unmet therapeutic needs of the global, topical anti-infective market with its Aganocide® compounds, led by auriclosene. Auriclosene is a new chemical entity invented by NovaBay which has a broad spectrum of activity against bacteria, viruses and fungi. Aganocide compounds are based on the human body’s natural immune system and the molecules involved in combating infections. Bacterial resistance to Aganocides is highly unlikely, as demonstrated in in vitro studies. Once pathogens penetrate the body’s primary defense, the next line of defense is provided by the white blood cells. NovaBay has focused on understanding these molecules generated by the white blood cells and finding ways, by chemical modification, to allow them to be developed as therapeutic products with the potential to treat a wide range of local, non-systemic infections. As Aganocides begin to supplement and thereby reduce the usage of classic topical antibiotics, they will help slow the rise of antibiotic resistance.
This release contains forward-looking statements and opinions, which are based upon management’s current expectations, assumptions, estimates, projections and beliefs. These statements include, but are not limited to, statements regarding the general use of antibiotics in the United States and NovaBay’s possible effect on that use. The words “potential,” “expected” and “will be” are intended to identify these forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual results or achievements to be materially different and adverse from those expressed in or implied by the forward-looking statements. Factors that might cause or contribute to such differences include, but are not limited to, risks and uncertainties relating to difficulties or delays in development, clinical trial, regulatory approval, production and marketing of the company’s product candidates, unexpected adverse side effects or inadequate therapeutic efficacy of the product candidates, the uncertainty of patent protection for the company’s intellectual property or trade secrets, the company’s ability to obtain additional financing as necessary and unanticipated research and development and other costs. Other risks relating to NovaBay and Aganocide compounds, including risks that could cause results to differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements in this press release, are detailed in NovaBay’s latest Form 10-K and Form 10-Q filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, especially under the heading “Risk Factors.” The forward-looking statements in this release speak only as of this date, and NovaBay disclaims any intent or obligation to revise or update publicly any forward-looking statement except as required by law.
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