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R&D firms team up to tackle antibiotic resistance

Published on 16/09/15 at 10:38am
antibiotics
The World Health Organisation has called for action to combat the growing problem of resistance

Two companies at the centre of the UK’s R&D efforts to tackle the growing threat of resistance to antibiotics are expanding a collaboration to develop new antibiotics. 

Since initiating the project in 2014, significant progress has been made towards the invention of new compounds with activity against both gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria.

The collaboration between Auspherix, a pre-clinical anti-infectives company founded by researchers at the University of Technology Sydney, and drug discovery firm Domainex, aims both to refine the current chemical series towards selection of novel pre-clinical candidates and to explore potential additional compound series.

A team of at least five chemists will be deployed at Domainex providing analytical and medicinal chemistry expertise, working in partnership with Auspherix’s R&D team.

Chief executive of Domainex Eddy Littler says: “We are very pleased to have expanded our partnership with Auspherix. This is a strong endorsement of the inventiveness, productivity and client-focus of our drug discovery services team. We will undertake further lead optimisation studies to build on the excellent progress made to date. Together with Auspherix, we are focused on the identification of novel pre-clinical drug candidates to address the growing global burden of multi-drug resistant bacterial diseases.”

Auspherix is building its UK-based microbiology and management teams at the Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst. Co-founder and chief scientific officer Professor Ian Charles says: “Having established operations in the UK, our initial programmes are on track and making excellent progress. We believe the novel mechanism of action of our compound series discovered jointly with Domainex’s scientists offers enormous potential for the development of a new arsenal of drugs that will be required to treat the growing numbers of bacterial infections.”

In November UK experts will gather at the BioInfect 2015 conference to discuss progress by Lord O’Neill, head of the review established by the UK government to look at the economic impact of antimicrobial resistance.

Dr Geoff Davison, chief executive of Bionow, the life science membership body for the North of England, says: “The diminishing effectiveness of antibiotics threatens the prevention and treatment of an ever-increasing range of infections. It represents such an unparalleled threat to global public health that in order to address it requires coordinated global action across all government sectors and society as a whole.”

Yasmita Kumar

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