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7 June 2016Americas

BIO 2016: In search of the world’s new antibiotics

The 2016 BIO International Convention has heard that drug companies are on a mission to discover new tools to support the development of anti-infectives due to a decrease in the development of new antibiotics.

In a session called ‘Focus on Anti-Infectives: Innovation for AMR’, three speakers discussed the search for tools around the world that can help develop novel anti-infectives.

Dr Pierre Meulien, executive director of the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI), Matthew Cooper, director of the Centre for Suberbug Solutions at the University of Queensland and Dr Claire Skentelbery, of the IMI’s ENABLE project, led the discussion.

The workshop took place on the first day of the convention currently taking place in San Francisco.

The presentations stressed that the discovery and development of new antibiotics have slowed down due to scientific barriers to drug discovery, regulatory challenges, and the diminishing returns on antibiotic discovery which has caused major drug companies to slow down progression on antibiotic research.

“What we’re trying to look at is finding very novel ways to discover and develop antibiotics because the previous approaches have exhausted the production and development of antibiotics,” Skentelbery said.

As explained in the session, every current available antibiotic is a derivative of an antibiotic discovered in the 1900s.

The problem lies in the emergence of antibiotic-resistant pathogens which has accelerated, giving rise to infections that will not respond to available antibiotic treatment.

Skentelbery added: “The aim behind the project and this workshop is to identify very novel types of antibiotics because the traditional way of developing antibiotics, within the same class does not produce new antibiotics at all. There are hardly any novel antibiotics coming into the market. This is a very serious situation indeed.”

LSIPR interviewed Skentelbery about the session and wider antibiotic issues, you can see the interview here.

The BIO 2016 conference runs from June 6-9.

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