Demuris has secured a £342,000 grant, funded by the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC), from Innovate UK’s SBRI program to identify new treatments for Gram Negative infections. Gram-negative bacteria, such as Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, pose a significant scientific challenge because their unique “outer membrane” makes it difficult for most antibiotics to work effectively.
New antibiotics are urgently needed to combat the rise of Multi-Drug Resistance (MDR), and the most pressing are treatments for MDR-Gram-negative pathogens. The World Health Organization (WHO) considers it critical to find new therapies to overcome Gram-negative resistance, particularly against carbapenem-resistant pathogens because they are resistant to all or nearly all of the antibiotics available today. The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 2 million Americans acquire serious infections caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria each year, and 23,000 of them die as a result.
This grant will allow Demuris to conduct whole genome DNA sequencing of a large number of bacteria that Demuris have previously identified as producers of antibiotics against Gram negative pathogens. Although many of these organisms will produce known molecules, Demuris will then use its bioinformatic tools to rapidly eliminate these and focus drug development activities on organisms with the potential to be making completely new antibiotics.
Demuris has developed proprietary technologies to enhance the discovery and optimization of bioactive compounds from natural sources. This includes its Turbolibrary platform for generating vast numbers of novel, bioactive compounds from previously silent biosynthetic gene clusters. This system is being applied on Demuris’ internal collection of rare taxonomically-sifted actinomycete bacteria obtained from all over the world and from a vast array of diverse environments.
Demuris has also developed the 3G Platform of advanced genomics, informatics and synthetic biology technologies which enable fast and cost-effective transition from Hit to Drug Lead by rapid dereplication/prioritization of Leads, elaboration of natural and synthetic analogues, and rapid and efficient compound production.
Demuris is developing lead compounds to address major disease area problems in oncology, mitochondrial disease and drug resistant infectious diseases, in partnership with various collaborators and partners.