Development of novel antimicrobial agents is a top priority in the fight against multidrug-resistant (MDR) and persistent bacteria. We developed a panel of synthetic antimicrobial and antibiofilm peptides (SAAPs) with enhanced antimicrobial activities compared to the parent peptide, human antimicrobial peptide LL-37. Our lead peptide SAAP-148 was more efficient in killing bacteria under physiological conditions in vitro than many known preclinical- and clinical-phase antimicrobial peptides. SAAP-148 killed MDR pathogens without inducing resistance, prevented biofilm formation, and eliminated established biofilms and persister cells. A single 4-hour treatment with hypromellose ointment containing SAAP-148 completely eradicated acute and established, biofilm-associated infections with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and MDR Acinetobacter baumannii from wounded ex vivo human skin and murine skin in vivo. Together, these data demonstrate that SAAP-148 is a promising drug candidate in the battle against antibiotic-resistant bacteria that pose a great threat to human health.
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