GlaxoSmithKline has teamed up with the Wellcome Trust to develop a new class of antibacterials which they hope will combat the rise of certain drug-resistant hospital-acquired infections.

The collaboration is part of the Trust’s £91 Seeding Drug Discovery initiative from which GSK will receive £4 million. In turn, the drugs giant will make a matching contribution in staff, equipment, and other programme costs whilst accelerating development of compounds for the treatment of Gram-negative bacteria “which are becoming increasingly resistant to multiple antibacterials.” The bacteria “commonly cause hospital-acquired pneumonia and septic shock, particularly in patients in intensive care units,” the Trust noted.

"Our ability to tackle drug-resistant infections is reaching crisis level with few new antimicrobial agents on the horizon," said Dr Ted Bianco, director of technology transfer at the Trust. "Anti-bacterials are expensive to develop and may be held in reserve, limiting their market potential. It can be difficult, therefore, for companies to recoup their outlay in R&D costs." The Trust will receive a “financial consideration” on any commercial product resulting from the pact.

GSK’s Veramyst approved in USA

Meantime, GSK has won approval from the US Food and Drug Administration for Veramyst (fluticasone), nasal spray to treat seasonal and year-round allergy symptoms in adults and children two years of age and older.

GSK noted that in clinical trials, Veramyst (formerly known as Allermist) relieved overall nasal symptoms of seasonal and year-round allergies, which included nasal congestion, sneezing, itchy nose and runny nose. The company added that the product is the first prescription nasal steroid spray to demonstrate “consistent and significant improvement” in relieving overall allergic eye symptoms, which included red, itchy and watery eyes, in patients with seasonal allergies 12 years of age and older.

Analysts estimate peak sales of up to $1 billion a year for the Veramyst, which will be available by the end of May across the USA. The treatment is an intranasal corticosteroid that works throughout the allergy process to block an entire range of the chemicals in the body that are involved in inflammation that may lead to nasal allergy symptoms, though GSK notes that its precise mechanism is not known.