Gram-negative ‘superbugs’ top the World Health Organization’s Priority Pathogen List for which new antibiotics are urgently needed. Polymyxin antibiotics are often the only option to treat resistant pathogens; however, their use is significantly limited by kidney toxicity and poor efficacy against lung infections.
Researchers at the Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences (MIPS) and the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute (BDI), led by Professor Jian Li, Associate Professor Tony Velkov, Professor Roger Nation, Dr Kade Roberts and Professor Philip Thompson, have developed novel polymyxin antibiotics. These proprietary synthetic antibiotics have been licenced to Qpex Biopharma, a US-based biopharmaceutical company focused on developing new antibiotics to combat antimicrobial resistance.
Supported by funding from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the US NIH, the research team identified a promising clinical candidate that is being evaluated ahead of an Investigational New Drug application to the FDA. The Qpex team will progress the drug candidate to Phase I clinical trials.