Bacterial resistance a hot topic at European conference

Friday, 01 May, 2015

Bacterial resistance a hot topic at European conference

The 25th European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ECCMID 2015) was held 25-28 April 2015 in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Hosted by the European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ESCMID), the event gave small companies and start-ups the chance to discuss new approaches in the global fight against infections. ESCMID President Murat Akova explained, “At ESCMID, we are providing a platform to bring these innovators to the attention of the world in the hope more products will make it to market faster.”

A dedicated pipeline session led by Ursula Theuretzbacher, the founder of the Center for Anti-Infective Agents in Vienna, gave a review of the research and development programs from across several innovative European biotech companies. It is hoped that with most large pharmaceutical companies moving out of the development of new antibacterial treatments, smaller companies will be able to step up with novel solutions.

“A total of 12 companies took part in the pipeline corner and pipeline talk, which featured for the first time in the ECCMID program,” said ECCMID Programme Director Winfried V Kern. “The idea is to give companies with products in early stages of research and development a platform where they can display electronic posters and hold oral presentations of their approaches and programs.”

The presentations focused on fighting bacterial resistance. These included a wide variety of approaches, ranging from chemically synthesised and natural products to tackling specific resistance mechanisms. One recurrent theme was the search for very narrow spectrum and pathogen-specific antibiotics, working on the premise of exploiting specific differences in physiology or virulence mechanisms. It is hoped that this approach will contribute to more personalised treatments and, potentially, to one drug for one bug.

All of the presenting companies were members of the Beam Alliance - a networking group set up to represent European ‘antibacterial’ biotech companies and promote collaboration between stakeholders involved in developing innovative products. Theuretzbacher noted, “The fight against resistance is now clearly moving towards the biotech arena, and we must continue to find ways to fund this vital research.”

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