Breaking antibiotic resistance: Antibiotic Research UK chooses Evotec to fulfil its first research program
Antibiotic Research UK’s first project into drug repurposing will test whether existing drugs for the treatment of any medical condition can break antibiotic resistance.
Thanks to the generosity of its donors, Antibiotic Research UK (ANTRUK) – the world’s first charity established to fight antibiotic resistance, provide patient support and raise awareness of the issue of antibiotic resistance – has awarded its first research contract to Evotec, a leading organisation in drug discovery and development. The research will look for ways of breaking antibiotic resistance by testing if any existing drugs will help to break antibiotic resistance in Gram-negative bacteria (those that are responsible for UTIs, blood and skin infections, and pneumonia).
Lord Jim O’Neill’s recent final report for the Review on Antimicrobial Resistance highlighted the necessity of discovering new therapies to treat drug resistant infections otherwise one person could die every three seconds from an antibiotic resistant infection. It is hoped that this research program will be a first step by the charity to find a solution to the threat of superbugs by the early 2020’s.
This Antibiotic Resistance Breaker programme, which is the first of five projects that ANTRUK aims to carry out over the next 7 years, is an initial broad screen of a wide range of drug molecules to see if any can be repurposed for the fight against antimicrobial resistant infections. The research involves various test tube studies to screen over 1500 different molecules, including many drugs and nutraceuticals, and it is hoped that some of these compounds will demonstrate antibiotic resistance breaking activity on Gram-negative bacteria. Should any positive leads be found, then these particular molecules will be taken forward to be investigated in more detail in future research projects, for which funding of £1million will need to be raised.
The research has already commenced and the program is predominantly being carried out at Evotec’s anti-infectives site based in Manchester, with some work also being conducted at the bio-safety level 2 high-throughput screening facility at Evotec’s Toulouse site in France. The team of scientists working on the project hope to have some positive findings within the next few months.
Evotec was one of a number of organisations who tendered for the contract and was awarded the opportunity to undertake the Antibiotic Resistance Breaker research due to the high-quality and impressive proposal it put to ANTRUK. Moreover, Evotec is a leading organisation in the drug discovery and development industry with an established, world-class drug discovery platform that enables state-of-the-art research to be conducted. This provides the ideal foundation for ANTRUK’s first research program.
Professor Colin Garner, chief executive at Antibiotic Research UK, comments: “We are delighted to announce that our first research program will be undertaken by Evotec. With Evotec’s expertise and facilities, we are excited about the prospects of potentially finding something that will help us in the fight against antimicrobial resistance.
“Antibiotic resistance is becoming a global threat to us all and could lead to the end of modern medicine as we know it today, which is wholly reliant on effective antibiotics. This is a problem which could cost the global economy $70trillion, and cause 10 million deaths per year, over the next three decades. There is a whole raft of actions that need to be undertaken ranging from simple infection and prevention control, to reducing the use of antibiotics in agriculture, and we hope that this research project will help set things in motion as the first step towards a solution to the problem.”
Dr David Brown, chair of the charity’s Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee said: “Our Committee has been developing this program for the past 12 months. I believe it offers the possibility of finding new antibiotic therapies to meet our goal of bringing one into clinic by the early 2020’s. The Charity is delighted to be starting real research now.”Dr Werner Lanthaler, CEO at Evotec, commented: “The combination of Evotec’s science and infrastructures, alongside charities and foundations like ANTRUK, allows for highly capital efficient drug discovery processes and we are looking forward to collaborating with ANTRUK on this research program. This type of partnership is especially important for addressing the dramatic threat of multi-drug resistant bacterial infections where time is of essence to come up with new treatments.”