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Blacksburg research firm to fight superbugs with funding

A Blacksburg company with strong Virginia Tech ties will fight so-called superbugs thanks to new funds.

Techulon Inc., a firm that spun out of research from the university’s College of Science, clinched $785,000 from a Boston-based nonprofit to develop a drug that targets bacteria that have grown resistant to antibiotics.

Widespread use of antibiotics have helped some strains of bacteria become immune to abilities to prevent infections. Drug-resistant bacteria are among the greatest threats to global health, the World Health Organization and other groups say.

The two bacteria Techulon hopes to target pose a particular threat for patients in hospital settings with weakened immune systems. One of those germs has been dubbed the “Iraqibacter” because of its prevalence among soldiers after the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq.

Techulon will use the money to come up with medicine that disables specific genes in the superbug that cause infection.

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