Two units under Singapore’s Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), the Experimental Therapeutics Center (ETC) and Exploit Technologies Pte Ltd (ETPL), have signed a joint research collaboration agreement with global biopharmaceutical company AstraZeneca (AZ), to develop new drugs to treat Gram-negative bacterial infections. Such infections are believed to cause two thirds of all hospital acquired infection deaths.
Under the agreement, AstraZeneca and ETC will collaborate on joint research projects, with ETC contributing expertise in the discovery and optimization of lead compounds, and AstraZeneca providing expertise in antimicrobial drug discovery. The three-and-a-half-year collaboration focuses on generating high quality preclinical development candidates for entry into clinical studies. The agreement also covers commercialisation and licensing of any arising intellectual property.
“The Experimental Therapeutics Center is excited to embark in this endeavour with AstraZeneca. The synergy between our novel approaches in lead generation and optimization and AstraZeneca’s established track record in anti-infectives would give us both a fighting chance in tackling the challenge of penetrating the Gram negative bacterial armour. By combining our efforts, expertise and experience, I believe we can address this unmet medical need of treating hospital-acquired infections caused by Gram negative organisms,” said Alex Matter, CEO, ETC.
“Antimicrobial resistance is one of the world’s most serious health threats. There is an urgent need to develop new medicines to treat infectious diseases that have become resistant to antibiotics,” said Manos Perros, vice president, Infection Innovative Medicines and Early Development, AstraZeneca. “By bringing together our expertise in drug discovery and development with that of other leading experts in the field, it is our hope that we will improve the chances of fighting antimicrobial resistance and delivering meaningful new medicines to patients.”
“This collaboration with AstraZeneca to develop new drugs is a clear endorsement from one of the leading global pharmaceutical companies that our biomedical research capabilities have come of age. It provides an example of how A*STAR partners with industry to bring value to the company and to Singapore,” said Benjamin Seet, executive director, Biomedical Research Council, Agency for Science Technology and Research (A*STAR).
Pathogenic cause infections including pneumonia, bloodstream infections, wound or surgical site infections, and meningitis in healthcare settings. They are resistant to multiple drugs and are increasingly resistant to available antibiotics. The structure of their double-layered cell wall makes it difficult for drugs to enter and remain in the cell, posing serious challenges in designing potent antibiotics against such organisms. The World Health Organisation said that such Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is increasingly being detected and is spreading rapidly. AMR is rapidly becoming a major public health risk and is threatening to undo decades of advances in the ability to treat disease.
Date: November 04, 2013
Source: Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR)
Filed Under: Drug Discovery