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UK-South Africa Antibiotic Accelerator Hub
Newton Fund, £1,900,000
Led by the University of Plymouth and Rhodes University, South Africa, this project unites a consortium of universities in both countries and South Africa’s newly-established Natural Products Research Network to significantly boost capacity for discovery of new antibiotics. Focusing on unexplored, biodiversity-rich habitats – including deep sea and polar environments –offers the potential for new ‘natural product’-derived drugs. The hub aims to support future growth in the bio-economics of the UK and South Africa respectively, with a seed project fund included to explore the diversity of antimicrobial peptides in South Africa to identify potential new antibiotics.
Development of nasal cream containing novel antibiotic Epidermicin NI01
Innovate UK, BBSRC and DHSC
Epidermicin is a first-in-class antibiotic candidate discovered by Professor Upton’s research group. It has unprecedented activity in an infection model against MRSA, one of the leading causes of healthcare acquired infections. Professor Upton has been working with Ingenza Ltd to develop an advanced production system for epidermicin, so that it can be made on a commercial scale. This has allowed epidermicin to progress into pre-clinical evaluation at Amprologix, Professor Upton’s University of Plymouth spin-out company. The aim is to conduct first human trials with epidermicin in 2021.
Development of bovine herpesvirus-4 as a single dose vaccine to control Streptococcus suis infection in domestic pigs
Innovate UK, £697,784
Professor Mathew Upton, along with project lead Dr Michael Jarvis, director of The Vaccine Group, will work with colleagues in China to identify targets for a new vaccine, which - if successful - could help reduce the need for antibiotic administration in domestic pigs.
Deep-sea discovery – mining marine environments for novel biologics
The Society of Applied Microbiology, £65,000
Marine sponges and the deep-sea ecosystem are comparatively under-studied and under-exploited compared with life in shallower waters. This interdisciplinary project brings together marine and microbiology scientists to identify and develop potential new antimicrobials produced by the microbiome of sponges that live deep beneath the ocean surface.
ABX: The Antibiotic Discovery Accelerator Network
University of Plymouth
Led by early career researchers, this initiative is for researchers engaged in antibiotic discovery and aims to encourage sharing of expertise and the development of new collaborations, to identify gaps in the antibiotics discovery pipeline and provide solutions to the bottlenecks that impede the discovery of novel compounds.