The EU and the pharmaceutical industry are now investing in a type of partnership between the public and the private sector, a business model called “public private partnership”, which in this case aims to drive the development of antibiotics.
One of the projects initiated is ENABLE, which since 2014 runs an antibacterial drug platform, where new substances can be developed with the goal of eventually developing a new drug candidate that can be tested on humans. One half of the funding is provided by the EU, and the other half is provided by the pharmaceutical companies involved.
– In the project, RISE is responsible for the pharmaceutical development of the substance, toxicological tests and advice. We help to scale up the substance so that it is present in sufficient quantity to be able to study it. We also develop analytical methods, dosage forms and formulations so that the substance can be given to both animals and humans, says Nicolaas Schipper.
The consortium includes a total of 47 parties from universities as well as the biotechnology industry and pharmaceutical companies
The project is led by Uppsala University, together with a coordinator from the pharmaceutical industry.
– Having RISE as part of the drug development platform in ENABLE has been very useful both in terms of contributing experience and expertise to our various partners but also in the practical development work, says Anders Karlén at Uppsala University.
Assistance with drug development
It can often be small companies or universities that find a new substance. Researchers and companies can then turn to ENABLE, to get help from the consortium to develop these substances further through the first stages of drug development, which is often challenging.
– It is an important assignment, and a big one. We have had about ten projects that have been accepted, and very many that have shown interest. You need to meet a number of requirements to become part of the project, says Nicolaas Schipper, who sees several reasons why the project is important.
– On the one hand, they take advantage of the expertise in academia and the biotechnology industry to find new mechanisms and substances, and on the other hand, they have created this platform where it becomes easier to develop new drugs.
Candidate became ready for clinical testing in 2019
In November 2018, a drug candidate was selected who was selected to be tested clinically, as it was shown to have an effect also on infections caused by some of the more dangerous drug-resistant bacteria. In 2019, the candidate began testing in a phase 1 study that continued to show good results.
– The first clinical study is always about safety. They try to find the optimal dose and identify any side effects. After that come efficacy studies in patients, says Nicholaas Schipper, who explains that RISE works in the ENABLE project in several ways and in different parts of drug development.