The AMR Centre (AMRC) and EligoChem have entered into an agreement for the co-development of antimicrobial peptides to treat drug-resistant Gram-negative bacteria, such as E. coli.

This is the third deal that has been struck by the AMRC this year and underlines its key role in the UK’s fight to the global health threat posed by the dwindling supply of antibiotics and increasing number of fatalities linked to antimicrobial resistance.

“EligoChem has a promising programme which we are going to support by investing our expertise and resources,” said Dr Peter Jackson, executive director of the ARMC. “Antimicrobial peptides are being looked at because the way they work, not necessarily targeting specific molecular receptors on the microbial surface, but rather assuming structures that allow them to interact directly with membranes, means they may be one solution to the problem of resistance to conventional antibiotics.

“The work to date conducted by EligoChem and the University of Colorado has focused on the potential of synthetic peptides — being able to manipulate certain aspects of the synthesis to increase efficacy whilst avoiding potential toxicological and stability issues. The technology has potential across a number of infectious disease areas.”

Dr Andrew McElroy, EligoChem Limited CEO added: “We look forward to collaborating with the AMRC who will apply their extensive antimicrobial experience and microbiology resources to expedite the selection and evaluation of a candidate compound for clinical development.”