Enabling new antimicrobial therapies

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

Key facts:

  • Key part of Antabio’s biofilm disruptor programme and successful €3.9M Seeding Drug Discovery Award from the Wellcome Trust
  • Central role in enabling sector-wide development of biofilm disruptor therapies by establishing standardised analyses and delivering proof of concept studies
  • 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.

Accessible, integrated, quality assured

Drug development in this area would be impossible without novel biofilm degradation analyses and endpoints developed through the Southampton facility by NIHR Respiratory Biomedical Research Unit investigators. “These assays are critical to the national NIHR translational research collaboration and ability to work with drug development partners in this field, and it was the flexible, immediate access to specialist respiratory suites and quality assured sample processing offered by the NIHR CRF that meant we could develop them so quickly.” Jeremy comments.

The facility’s high QA standards and work towards accreditation was also critical to Antabio’s decision to pursue development. “The quality and safety of the Southampton facility assured us that proof of concept data showing reversible biofilm disruption was robust, and that development of biofilm disruptors was viable”, explains Martin Everett, Head of Biology at Antabio.

The complete package

“When you add to this their direct access to a national, deeply phenotyped patient cohort via the NIHR respiratory rare diseases Translational Research Collaboration, it was clear to us that the Southampton facility was giving us everything we needed to take this drug forward” adds Martin.