27.02.2013 - Xellia Pharmaceuticals and the Statens Serum Institute have kicked-off a collaboration to find new medicines against antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
The 4 -year collaboration of the Norwegian firm with Trondheim-based SINTEF Materials and Chemistry and the Danish Institute (Copenhagen) focusses on developing novel antibiotics to combat multi-drug resistant (MDR), Gram-negative bacteria. Supported with US$3m from the Research Council of Norway, it will target Pseudomonas, Klebsiella, Acinetobacter and Enterobacter species.
Severe sepsis and septic shock due to such infections claim up to 135,000 lives each year in Europe and 215,000 in the US. Resistance to existing antibiotics has become a major healthcare issue worldwide. In the EU alone, infections due to serious hospital-based MDR infections have been reported to cost between €28,500 and €70,100 per surviving patient.
Recently, pan-drug resistant (PDR) and even so-called extensively drug resistant (XDR) Gram-negative bacteria have started to appear, taking the treatment situation to a critical point. The lack of novel antibiotics is significantly compromising the survival and recovery of patients suffering from these infections. At present, only two antibiotic subclasses are still available to treat XDR infections, polymyxins and tigecycline. They have been used for 60-70 years without developing a significant resistance. However, these antibiotics are known to exhibit elevated nephrotoxicity (affecting kidney function) and are, therefore, not ideal for systemic treatment of XDR-infections.
Xellia aims at developing new, polymyxin-like drugs with fewer side-effects. The SINTEF and Statens Serum Institut research groups are specialists in fermentation development and drug testing. Xellia already markets four antibiotics targeting Gram-negative bacteria.
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