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Utah drug research company, Curza, takes aim at Lyme disease

Utah drug research company, Curza, takes aim at Lyme disease
Utah drug research company, Curza, takes aim at Lyme disease
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(KUTV) Curza, a Provo-based pharmaceutical research company, is on the cusp of a medical breakthrough that could treat victims of chronic Lyme disease.

The company is entering phase two of clinical research on their newly designed antibiotic called CZ-99. They'll soon be testing the drug on infected mice at the University of California, Davis.

An initial clinical trial at the University of New Haven in Connecticut, found CZ-99 to be 60 percent more effective in treating Lyme disease than the traditional antibiotics used to treat the illness.

Curza CEO Ryan Davies says they have a patent on a technology used to penetrate bacteria's protective outer layer, or biofilm, making its new antibiotic more effective than outdated medications.

"We've developed a drug that's a two-in-one combination," said Davies. "We're able to break up the biofilm and force a dispersion and then come in with the antibiotic portion and kill the bacteria that resided inside."

The FDA has named the study of biofilm technology one of it's top priorities and has agreed to fast-track the marketability of companies that can safely prove the technology in clinical trial.

"We're learning with many different disease states, Lyme Disease happens to be one of them, that traditional antibiotics just don't work against certain infections," says Davies.

Lyme disease is contracted through ticks and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 300,000 Americans are diagnosed with the disease each year; many of them continue to live with symptoms for years.

Some big name celebrities have reported chronic symptoms associated with Lyme disease, including Alec Baldwin, President George W. Bush and pop singer Avril Lavigne, who recently talked about her condition being the "worst time of her life."

Curza is hopeful they've have an effective treatment hitting the market in the next few years.

"I think best case scenario is maybe three years or so, we may have a chance to be on the market," said Davies.

The company is also in the research and development phase for a number of other drugs that will potentially be used to treat antibiotic-resistant bacteria, tuberculosis and even cancer.

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