Next-gen antibiotic research funded

A next-generation, broad-spectrum antibiotic with potential to treat serious, drug-resistant infections is one step closer to becoming a reality.

Wintermute Biomedical – a global next-generation antibiotics company based at La Trobe University’s Research and Innovation Precinct, together with a team of world-leading scientists from the La Trobe Institute for Molecular Science (LIMS), have received Federal Government funding for a Cooperative Research Centre Project (CRC-P) to fast-track testing of a next-generation antibiotic, GS-1, bringing it one step closer to market.

Professor Geoff Rogers, CEO of Wintermute Biomedical, said the company has developed and patented GS-1 which, during in-vitro and in-vivo testing in animals, shows no signs of succumbing to antimicrobial resistance.

“GS-1 has demonstrated potent activity against all classes of drug-resistant bacteria, has shown no side-effects to date, and exhibits an extremely unique resistance profile,” Professor Rogers said.

The many potential applications of GS-1 include the treatment of bloodstream infections, sepsis and wounds.

In partnership with Wintermute, the research team at LIMS will conduct further characterisation and non-clinical testing of GS-1, bringing it closer to clinical trials in humans.

Professor Andrew Hill, Director of LIMS at La Trobe, said that with the impending threat of antimicrobial resistance, now more than ever it is crucial that new antibiotics are developed and brought to market as quickly as possible.

“Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is one of the world’s most serious health challenges,” Professor Hill said.

“According to the UK Government’s recent Review on Antimicrobial Resistance, an estimated 700,000 people die each year from drug-resistant infections. More alarmingly, this number is projected to accelerate towards 10 million by 2050, outstripping even cancer and costing an estimated $100 trillion dollars globally.”

Wintermute CEO Professor Geoff Rogers said that since 2000, only 12 new antibiotics have been approved by the FDA and approximately 48 new antibiotics are currently in clinical development – not enough to address the threat of superbugs.

“Currently antibiotics average only 1.6 years before the first case of resistance, which is because most of these later generation drugs have been derived from earlier generation (failing) drugs by simply modifying or adding to them. This means bacteria are already largely familiar and can resist the new antibiotic,” Professor Rogers said.

“Our patented family of new antibiotics comprise a unique combination of entities, which are individually considered safe by regulators, and have never been used before in an antibiotic. The most promising aspect is that our antibiotics show no signs of developing resistance in standardised testing. We believe we have discovered a new class of antibiotics.”

Professor Andrew Hill said the partnership between LIMS and Wintermute is a perfect synergy.

“The La Trobe Institute for Molecular Science possesses world-class expertise and facilities in the areas of drug discovery, development and characterisation, which are critical to this project,”Professor Hill said.

“Our collaboration with Wintermute will be at the forefront of antibiotic research and could lead to significant discoveries and other next-generation drugs.”

More information on the latest CRC Projects round outcomes can be found on the Government’s website.

University City of the Future

Wintermute Biomedical is based at La Trobe’s Research and Innovation Precinct – a key component of the University’s $5 billion University City of the Future.

The University City of the Future plan will see the campus become the engine room for jobs and economic development in Melbourne’s North, delivering $5 billion in investment, 20,000+ new jobs and $3.5 billion in GRP over the next ten years.

A world-class Research and Innovation Precinct will leverage La Trobe’s research and innovation strengths in Health and Wellbeing, Agriculture, Food and Fibre and Digital Technologies and Cybersecurity.

ENDS

Media Contact: Claire Bowers – c.bowers@latrobe.edu.au - 9479 2315 / 0437279903

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