Inverse: Synthetic Biology and the Next Great Antibiotic
Neel V. Patel from Inverse talked with Court Turner, Synthorx’s CEO, to talk about how synthetic biology can make safer and more effective medicines. Antibiotic drug resistance is a severe and growing problem.
The genetic alphabet is normally made up of four bases, abbreviated A, T, C, and G. Our technology adds two new synthetic bases, which we call X and Y. The incorporation and replication of X and Y into DNA means that, for the first time, live bacterial cells can be used to produce a much wider variety of proteins than they normally would – including novel antibiotics.
Court explained, “Antibiotics, for the most part, came from natural sources. In nature, bacteria are constantly fighting this war against each other, making their own antibiotics to try and kill the bacteria around them. So what we can do is generate peptides or drugs that look much like natural compounds. The antibiotics space — or the anti-infections space, if you’re talking about antivirals or antifungals — our technology is uniquely positioned to create new drugs in that space.”