Detection of vancomycin resistance in Enterococcus faecium and Enterococcus faecalis via cell wall

The technology reveals cell wall remodeling dynamics with the innovative design of peptide molecules that mimic the structures of enzymes that are directly involved in peptidoglycan biosynthesis and direct indicators of vancomycin resistance enterococcus (VRE). The primary mechanism of action for vancomycin is to prevent cell wall synthesis by forming complexes with peptidoglycan; however, this common antibiotic has become ineffective, resulting in VRE as a major nosocomial pathogen worldwide.


The inventors’ cell wall analogs or peptide molecules not only interfere with peptidoglycan synthesis, but also indicate ideal conditions that have allowed bacterial fitness towards vancomycin resistance.

The notable competitive advantage of this technology is its utility will be able to distinguish between predominant enterococcus vanA and vanB resistance forms. In addition, the users, i.e. healthcare providers will be able to assess the resistance and its specific type in one diagnostic assay. Turnaround time for results from the start of start of culture to visual inspection will be delivered in less than 4 hours.



The predominance of VRE continues to rise in hospital settings within the United States with the administration of vancomycin. VRE is estimated to persist in 12 percent of all hospital patients, and more than 28 percent for patients in intensive care units. According to the CDC, at least 2 million people in the US have become infected with antibiotic resistant bacteria and 23,000 of these individuals will die from these infections. The ongoing explosion of antimicrobial resistance contributes to a significant and economic burden on healthcare systems and it is necessary to identify and detect resistance factors and pathogens in short time periods compared to traditional diagnostic methods. The molecular diagnostics market is expected to reach over $17.9 billion by 2024, with infectious diseases holding the largest share of the market. Lehigh’s inventors have strategically addressed an unmet need to provide key resistance information for better treatment and reduction of the spread of infections in hospital settings.


Lehigh University is looking for a partner for further development and commercialization of this technology through a license. The inventor is available to collaborate with interested companies.


Tech -ID



Marcos Pires, Ph.D. 



For Information, Contact:
Alan Snyder
VP, Research & Grad Programs
Lehigh University
Marcos Pires