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Natural product derivatives kill dental cavity causing Streptococcal strains


Early colonizers of dental bacterial infections, such as Streptococcus sanguinis and Streptococcus gordonii, are responsible for early plaque formation by anchoring adhesion proteins to the pellicle of the tooth and producing glucan polymers that constitute the matrix of dental plaque. Streptococcus mutans is able to invade this matrix to form microcolonies and eventually develop the mature biofilm that is responsible for tooth decay and acidification. To date, few natural products (such as carolacton) have been reported to be effective inhibitors of S. mutans growth, many of which are difficult to synthesize.


A novel set of compounds with bactericidal activity against oral Streptococcal infections, including S. mutans, S. sanguinis, and S. gordonii. The compounds were inspired by reports of antimicrobial activity of honokiol, a natural product from Magnolia trees.

A recently published journal article in ACS Infectious Diseases from Marisa Kozlowski’s Lab at the University of Pennsylvania’s Department of Chemistry, and in collaboration with Professor William Wuest at Emory University, describes synthetic routes to novel compounds that contain linked phenolic motifs with bactericidal activity towards oral Streptococcal strains. Under previously untested, physiologically relevant conditions, the Minimal Inhibitory Concentration (MIC) and Minimal Bactericidal Concentration (MBC) values for identified analogs were two orders of magnitude lower than honokiol, the previously investigated natural product.


  • Simple Synthesis
  • Lower MIC and MBC than previously reported antibiotics
  • Effective against multiple Streptococcal species


  • Dental Cavity Prevention (toothpastes, oral rinses, etc.)
  • Topical Antibiotic Applications
  • Antibacterial Soaps

Stage of Development:

  • Screening against additional bacterial strains
  • Development of additional derivative compounds

Intellectual Property:

Provisional Pending

Reference Media:

Solinksi, A.E. et al. ACS Infect. Dis., 2017, DOI: 10.1021/acsinfecdis.7b00178

Desired Partnerships:

  • License
  • Co-development  

Patent Information:


Docket # 18-8456

For Information, Contact:

Cortney Cavanaugh Licensing Officer, SEAS/SAS Licensing Group
University of Pennsylvania