LifeArc, the UK medical research charity previously known as MRC Technology, is working alongside the government’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory and Canada’s Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRD) to identify new antibacterial drug targets.
This parties have embarked on a collaborative project that will look at commonality across pathogens to identify which genes or “targets” express proteins that lead to the production of multi-drug resistant bacteria, and are therefore the most promising from a biophysical and drug discovery based perspective.
Once targets have been selected and validated, results will be openly published and the most promising targets will then be farmed into drug discovery programmes.
“To protect the armed forces and the civilian population against the threat of infectious disease we need to develop novel antimicrobials that are active against a broad spectrum of pathogens,” said Professor Timothy Atkins, Senior Fellow at Dstl.
“To achieve this challenging goal we need to be working with scientists at the forefront of their respective disciplines, which is why we’re extremely enthusiastic about the prospect of working alongside LifeArc and CDRD to bring our individual expertise to bear on this globally important issue.”
“LifeArc’s strategy is to create Communities for Impact (CfI) where we work in collaboration with cutting edge organisations such as Dstl and the CDRD, bringing together our diverse expertise and knowledge to tackle key issues in human health,” noted the charity’s executive director of drug discovery Justin Bryans.
“The discovery of new antibacterial drugs is becoming increasingly urgent and we are excited by the potential for this collaboration, as each party brings a piece of the jigsaw to enable the CfI as a whole to make a real impact in this field.”
Last year a government-commissioned report warned that failure to tackle the rise of the superbug could propel the current annual death toll from 700,000 to 10 million by 2050, at a global cost of $100 trillion between now and then.
Further terms of the collaboration were not revealed at this time.