The funding provided by the non-profit organization CARB-X (Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria Biopharmaceutical Accelerator) enables the partners to further advance their promising approach towards application. It is based on groundbreaking research by Mark Brönstrup’s team at the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI). Their goal is to disarm the bacteria by blocking their toxins rather than killing them, which is becoming increasingly difficult due to the dramatic rise in antibiotic resistance. Together with the Lead Discovery Center (LDC), they have generated highly effective small molecule inhibitors targeting Staphylococcus aureus’ key toxin, α-haemolysin. The inhibitors will now be optimized and further developed through preclinical and Phase I clinical trials. If successful, the approach can significantly improve the treatment of hospital-acquired pneumonia, which currently has a mortality rate of over 20%, even with adequate antibiotic therapy.
Ascenion, the HZI’s technology transfer partner, has worked closely with Mark Brönstrup for years. The team also supported the grant application and the negotiation of contracts between the HZI and the LDC.
For further information see the HZI’s press release.