World Antibiotic Awareness Week: Here are Biotech’s Top 5 Strategies to Overcome Resistance

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This week marks the WHO’s World Antibiotic Awareness Week. We had a look at some of the best work being done by biotechs to fight resistance.

An estimated 154 million prescriptions for antibiotics are written each year, but up to 30% are unnecessary. The World Health Organization has set up World Antibiotic Awareness Week to tackle this. This year’s theme is to take advice from your doctor, ensuring you get the best treatment possible, and also help to reduce the threat of antibiotic resistance.

Antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest crises facing our generation, with it estimated to kill around 700,000 people each year and expected to overtake cancer by 2050. Unfortunately, rising development costs and the relatively low returns due to rapid resistance has dented the progress made in this area.

Thankfully, biotech has stepped up its efforts to fight the problem, developing many different approaches to reach a common goal.

Britain’s Finest

Last month, Motif Bio announced that its potent Gram-positive bacteria killer, Iclaprim, impressed during a Phase III trial. The drug showed non-inferiority in terms of early clinical response and clinical cure in comparison with vancomycin.

Immunocore has received backing from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to adapt its anticancer technology and take aim at bacteria. The biotech will focus on the treatment of tuberculosis, of which there are 10.4 million new cases each year.

One down, what’s next?

Fresh from the news of its FDA approval, AiCuris won’t be short of cash. AIC499 is a β-lactam that is effective against a broad range of Gram-negative multi-drug resistant bacteria and has been designed for use in combination with a β-lactamase inhibitor to escape resistance.

No more pneumonia!

Novartis spin-out, Nabriva, saw its antibiotic against community-acquired pneumonia demonstrate that it is non-inferior to the current standard therapy, moxifloxacin, in terms of clinical response.

An antibacterial medical device

French biotech, Da Volterra, has taken a slightly different approach to the antibiotic crisis by developing a medical device, DAV132. It protects the microbiota from broad-spectrum antibiotics, which prevents nasty bacteria like Clostridium difficile from capitalizing on space left behind.

It is great to see such a range of different approaches being developed to fight bacterial infections, especially with a number of them progressing nicely through the clinic. Reassuringly, this is supported by exciting new approaches being discovered and developed in the lab.

Image via World Health Organization

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