The Wellcome Trust and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) today announced a collaboration to develop a new class of antibacterials to combat the rise of certain drug-resistant hospital-acquired infections, including those that lead to pneumonia. The collaboration is part of the Wellcome Trusts Seeding Drug Discovery initiative, aimed at tackling unmet medical needs.
GSK has received a 4 million award from the Trust to accelerate development of compounds for the treatment of Gram-negative bacteria which are becoming increasingly resistant to multiple antibacterials. GSK will make a matching contribution in staff, equipment, and other programme costs. The Trust will receive a financial consideration on any commercial product resulting from the collaboration.
"Our ability to tackle drug-resistant infections is reaching crisis level with few new antimicrobial agents on the horizon," says Dr Ted Bianco, Director of Technology Transfer at the Wellcome Trust. "Antibacterials are expensive to develop and may be held in reserve, limiting their market potential. It can be difficult, therefore, for companies to recoup their outlay in R&D costs.
This is where the Wellcome Trust believes it can make a difference through partnership. GSK has demonstrated a continuing commitment to discover and develop new antibacterials, aimed at addressing the growing threat of resistance. Our partnership will further support its research programmes."
The research will target Gram-negative bacteria, such as Pseudomonas, Klebsiella and Acinetobacter, which are increasingly resistant to available antibacterials and commonly cause hospital-acquired pneumonia and septic shock, particularly in patients in intensive care units. Without adequate therapy, patients often confront a poor prognosis mortality is high, and recovery, when it occurs, can be long and complicated.