New antibiotics against resistant pathogens
Prof. Dr. Dirk Bumann
Albert Ludwig University of Freiburg
Recipient: Albert Ludwig University of Freiburg
Funding: GO-Bio Phase I (01.07.2007 - 30.11.2011, 2.255.169 Euro)
Infectious diseases are estimated to cause over ten million deaths around the world ever, but the rapid development of resistances to common drugs is limiting the therapeutic possibilities for combating pathogens. Intensive research over the course of the last forty years has resulted in the approval of only a small number of new classes of antibiotics. While conventional antibiotics are all directed against the same group of 30 bacterial enzymes, molecular biologist Dirk Bumann has been working for several years on potential in-roads for new forms of antibiotics. In a systematic study on the metabolism of a bacterial pathogen, Bumann has identified 55 attack points that are yet to be specifically targeted by existing antibiotics and which are carried only by the relevant pathogens. In the first funding phase, 60,000 substances were tested for their effect on these potential weak points. Here, E.coli bacteria equipped with target-specific DNA sequences and their related fluorescence proteins serve as biosensors for possible antibiotic candidates.
The second funding phase will encompass the investigation of 300,000 additional substances as well as the development of fungi-derived biosensors for antibiotics. This work will be carried out at the 2009-founded company FreiBiotics, which is headed by Alfredo Bruno. The already discovered potential candidates are now set to undergo initial preclinical testing. Also planned are cooperations with pharmaceutical companies, incorporating the use of the Freiburg-based platform for their own screening processes. Bumann is in currently in discussions with various investors.