CAMBRIDGE, U.K.—Discuva, an antibiotics drug discovery and development company, announced Jan. 25 the receipt of a £1.5-million Biomedical Catalyst early-stage award from Innovate UK to develop novel antibiotics to tackle the issue of multidrug resistance and life-threatening bacterial infections.
As described by the U.K. Medical Research Council (MRC), “The Biomedical Catalyst (BMC) is a unique partnership between the MRC and Innovate UK, providing responsive and effective support to the most innovative life sciences opportunities regardless of scientific approach. The BMC aims to de-risk innovative science and commercialize ideas arising out of academia and industry helping UK SMEs to develop into competitive and sustainable organizations. This accelerates the progress of novel products to market, facilitates onward investment and bridges ‘the valley of death.’”
The Discuva project, entitled “Exploitation of transport mechanisms for novel Gram-negative antibiotic drug discovery,” will leverage Discuva's proprietary SATIN technology to explore new biological targets and deliver novel drug candidates that have a reduced likelihood of eliciting resistance compared to conventional antibiotics.
“This award from Innovate UK allows Discuva to capitalize on the unparalleled genome-wide molecular data that SATIN delivers to fully understand and exploit drug uptake and excretion in bacterial cells. This information will enable the discovery and development of further novel antimicrobial drugs to combat the antibiotic resistant Gram-negative pathogens that are the cause of life-threatening infections in our healthcare system,” said David Williams, CEO of Discuva. “Conducting this project will also contribute to an expansion of Discuva's capabilities and further develop its early-stage antimicrobial pipeline. Ultimately, our aim is to provide significant benefits to patients, the NHS [U.K.’s National Health Service] and healthcare systems globally, as well as the antibiotic research community.”
In the United States, Discuva notes, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that more than two million patients are affected by drug-resistant infections each year, with direct healthcare costs as high as $20 billion and with additional costs to society for lost productivity potentially doubling these figures. At least 23,000 die as a direct result of antibiotic resistance in these increasingly dangerous infectious agents.
In a report published jointly by the European Medicines Agency, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control and the international network ReAct—Action on Antibiotic Resistance, at least 25,000 patients in the European Union die each year from infections due to bacteria that are resistant to many medicines, and infections due to these bacteria in the EU result in additional healthcare costs and productivity losses of at least €1.5 billion each year.