Enabling new antimicrobial therapies

Our NIHR Southampton Respiratory Biomedical Research Unit (BRU) is a key part of French biotech firm Antabio’s efforts  to improve infection control in cystic fibrosis patients through a novel bacterial biofilm disruptor through a €3.9 million Wellcome Trust Seeding Drug Discovery award.

Key points:

  • Key part of Antabio’s biofilm disruptor programme and successful €3.9M Seeding Drug Discovery Award from the Wellcome Trust
  • Established novel, standardised analyses and conducted proof of concept studies via our NIHR Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Facility (NIHR WTCRF)
  • Together with our NIHR WTCRF, provides access point to national, deeply phenotyped patient populations of the NIHR Respiratory Rare Diseases Translational Research Collaboration (TRC) for further development

Jump to our infographic summary here.

Tackling biofilms in cystic fibrosis

Chronic Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection and persistence of pseudomonal biofilms are the main factors associated with long-term morbidity and death in CF, the most common lethal hereditary disease in Caucasian populations.

“Biofilm formation results in 1,000-fold lower antimicrobial efficacy, with antimicrobials only capable of controlling exacerbations. This all contributes to resistance, meaning that antimicrobials don’t touch the primary infection itself”, explains co-principal investigator Dr Jeremy Webb.

Antabio's novel biofilm disruptor targets the Pseudomonas bacteria and has the potential to reduce or eliminate biofilms in adults and prevent biofilm formation in children and teenagers – something that could dramatically extend and improve life for those with CF

Stimulating new therapeutic approaches

Drug development in this area would be impossible without novel biofilm degradation analyses and endpoints developed by NIHR Respiratory Biomedical Research Unit investigators. “These assays are critical to the national NIHR Translational Research Collaboration (TRC) and our ability to work with drug development partners in this field.” Jeremy comments.

Critical BRU work established standardised analyses and endpoints of biofilm breakdown, enabling comparable and validated testing of biofilm-targeted therapeutics. This platform was used in a proof-of-concept study demonstrating reversible biofilm degredation via inhaled Nitrogen Oxide (NO) by BRU and NIHR WTCRF, a key study in stimulating biofilm disruption development and industry interest. It is also central to BRU and NIHR WTCRF involvement in the eight centre, £250,000 NIHR rare diseases activity under the NIHR Respiratory TRC, handling, phenotyping and evaluating CF biofilm samples from across the UK.

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