News

Diving for novel antibiotics
Enlarge image

ResearchEUBelgiumUK

Diving for novel antibiotics

15.02.2013 - The EU-project PharmaSea will bring researchers to some of the deepest, coldest and hottest places on the planet in the hunt for novel antibiotics.

Scientists from the UK, Belgium, Norway, Spain, Ireland, Germany, Italy, Switzerland and Denmark will work together to collect and screen samples of mud and sediment from huge, previously untapped, oceanic trenches. The large-scale, four-year project is backed by more than €9.5 million of EU funding and brings together 24 partners from 14 countries from industry, academia and non-profit organisations.

The PharmaSea project focuses on biodiscovery research and the development and commercialisation of new bioactive compounds from marine organisms, including deep-sea sponges and bacteria, to evaluate their potential as novel drug leads or ingredients for nutrition or cosmetic applications. The international team of scientists is led by Professor Marcel Jaspars of the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, and coordinated by Dr. Camila Esguerra of the University of Leuven in Belgium.

Only a handful of samples have ever been taken from deep trenches and investigated, so the project is breaking new ground. "PharmaSea will not only be exploring new territory at the bottom of the oceans, but also new areas in ‘chemical space’. With our broad platform of cutting-edge bioassays to detect drug-like activity, we'll be testing many unique chemical compounds from these marine samples that have literally never seen the light of day. We're quite hopeful that we'll find a number of exciting new drug leads", says Dr. Camila Esguerra, Industrial Research Fellow and Lecturer with the Laboratory for Molecular Biodiscovery at the University of Leuven.

The international team will employ strategies commonly used in the salvage industry to carry out the sampling. Using fishing vessels, researchers will drop a sampler on a reel of cables to the trench bed to collect sediment. Scientists will then attempt to grow unique bacteria and fungi from the sediment that can be extracted to isolate novel drug-like molecules for pharmacological testing. Partners from China, Chile, Costa Rica, New Zealand and South Africa will support the PharmaSea project. The first field tests will be carried out next autumn in the Atacama Trench in the Eastern Pacific Ocean, about 100 miles off the coast of Chile and Peru. The team will also search the Arctic waters off Norway and the Antarctic via Italian and South African partners. Deep trenches will also be accessed off New Zealand and China.

Marine organisms that live more than 6,000 meters below the sea level are considered to be an interesting source of novel bioactive compounds as they survive under extreme conditions. "Trenches are separated from each other and represent islands of diversity. They are not connected to each other and life has evolved differently in each one", explains Marcel Jaspars. 

© eurobiotechnews.eu/al

http://www.european-biotechnology-news.com/news/news/2013-01/plunging-new-depths-for-novel-antibiotics.html

R&DEUBelgium

18.12.2014 IMI has launched a €115m call for proposals involving a project in collaboration with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to improve vaccines against whopping cough in children.

PoliticsEUPolandItalySpainUK

16.12.2014 Two consortia combined of 144 European companies, research institutes and universities have been selected for funding by the EIT in the areas of health and raw materials. Both clusters are set to acquire €1.1bn over the next seven years.

M&ALuxembourg

11.12.2014 Luxembourg bio-analytical testing company Eurofins Scientific has signed an agreement to acquire Boston Heart Diagnostics Corp. for an initial €112m.

StudySwitzerlandEU

10.12.2014 When it comes to the biggest investors in Research and Development (R&D) Swiss pharma top dogs Novartis and Roche have defended their positioning among the top ten companies worldwide – according to a recently published EU study.

FinancingUKSpain

09.12.2014 British drug delivery specialist Midatech Pharma plc floated on the London stock market. It is the third biotech IPO on the AIM market this year.

CooperationAustria

05.12.2014 Austrian contract research company VTU has entered into a development and commercialisation agreement with US company RCT. The partners want to combine both companies' Pichia pastoris protein production technologies under VTU's roof.

FinancingDenmark

03.12.2014 Danish biotech pharma Ascendis has successfully completed a €48m Series D financing round. The funding is expected to support its late-stage clinical trials to push its lead drug into Phase III trials.

RegulationUKFranceGermanySpain

01.12.2014 In spite of innovative new medicines on the market, the UK and Germany lag behind other countries and continue to use older medicines - especially in the treatment of cancer. French and Spanish patients, on the other hand, benefit much earlier from medical innovation.

Events

All Events

Current issue

All issues

Product of the week

Products