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Antimicrobials Targeting Biofilms

Technology Overview

Biofilms are three-dimensional microbial growth forms comprising of bacterial cells and the extracellular matrix they produce. They are ubiquitous in nature, forming on any surface or at any interface where water or suitable fluid is available. A biofilm exhibits substantially increased resistance to antibiotics compared to planktonic cells and resistance to phagocytosis, thus rendering biofilms very difficult to eradicate. Current biofilm control strategies typically target the early stages of biofilm development and involve the use of toxic antimicrobial agents.

The technology is based on nitric oxide and its ability to disperse biofilms and works synergistically with other antimicrobials. The chemical formulation developed encompasses multiple functionalities that are combined into a single compound that is only active in the presence of the bacterial biofilm. The formulation is non-toxic with good bioavailability and is active in vivo. It can disrupt and disperse the biofilm, making it more efficient to directly kill the dispersed cells of bacteria sensitive to antibiotics.

As biofilms are responsible for a range of hospital acquired infections and cause significant damage in industrial systems (e.g. water distribution and treatment systems, pulp and paper manufacturing systems, heat exchange system and cooling towers), this technology provides a good solution to resolve the issues associated with biofilms.

Technology Features, Specifications and Advantages

The technology is a series of chemical compositions based on nitric oxide targeted at disrupting and dispersing biofilms that may be surface-associated or suspended. The suspended biofilm may be in the form of flocs or granules.

Some features of the technology for therapeutic use include :

  • Capable of regulating the release of nitric oxide temporally and spatially, promoting the dispersal of cells from biofilms and regulating biofilm development
  • Can be adapted to work with single or multiple bacterial species
  • Non-toxic (no acute toxicity after 3 days at the highest dose tested)
  • Good bio-availability through two routes of administration (sub-cutaneous injection and IV injection)
  • Active on their own and in combination with bactericidal compounds. E.g. compatible with colistin and more effective than using colistin alone in clearing eye infections.

Potential Applications

Potential applications of this technology include (but are not limited to) :

  • Medical devices e.g. to be coated on the surface or impregnated within the material. It can also be delivered topically or by injection.
  • Industrial systems that require anti-fouling properties e.g. water supply reservoirs and feed pipes; cooling towers, dairy / food processing plants; chemical manufacturing plants; pulp and paper mills, oil pipelines and oil refinery equipment, etc.

Customer Benefits

  • Non-toxic, biofilm targeting
  • Active on their own and in combination with other antimicrobials
  • Improves existing efficacy of antimicrobial agents in eradicating biofilms
  • Can be used to treat infections caused by multiple bacterial species
Contact Person

Scott Rice


Singapore National Biofilm Consortium

Technology Category

  • Chemicals
  • Coatings/Paints
  • Environment, Clean Air/Water
  • Sanitisation
  • Healthcare
  • Medical Devices
  • Life Sciences
  • Materials

Technology Readiness Level


biofilm, eradication, antimicrobials, nitric oxide, non-toxic, hospital acquired infections, bacterial disruption