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Govt boosts new antibiotic

Posted 13 August 2019

A Melbourne based antibiotics company has won a $731,000 boost from the Federal government to fast-track testing of a new medicine. 

Wintermute Biomedical, which is based at La Trobe University, said the government gave it funding for a Cooperative Research Centre Project (CRC-P) for the antibiotic candidate GS-1. The company is collaborating with La Trobe's Institute for Molecular Science (LIMS) to push the drug into human clinical trials. 

"GS-1 has demonstrated potent activity against all classes of drug-resistant bacteria, has shown no side-effects to date, and exhibits an extremely unique resistance profile," Wintermute's CEO Geoff Rogers said. 

He said since 2000 just 12 new antibiotics had been approved by the FDA despite increasing levels of antibiotic development. Around 48 new antibiotics are now in clinical development.

"Currently antibiotics average only 1.6 years before the first case of resistance, which is because most of these later generation drugs have been derived from earlier generation (failing) drugs by simply modifying or adding to them. This means bacteria are already largely familiar and can resist. 

"Our patented family of new antibiotics comprise a unique combination of entities, which are individually considered safe by regulators, and have never been used before in an antibiotic. 

"The most promising aspect is that our antibiotics show no signs of developing resistance in standardised testing. We believe we have discovered a new class of antibiotics."

It comes as antibiotic resistance is anticipated to be one of the biggest worldwide health problems in the future, with industry and doctors calling for more to be done. 

The number of people who die from drug-resistant infections is expected to grow from 700,000 per year currently to 10 million by 2050. 

Yajun Ma

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