The University of Barcelona participates in a project to develop new antibiotics

Treatment of infections produced by Gram-negative bacteria is difficult because most of them are resistant to multiple drugs. In response to this problem, the Innovative Medicines Initiative, Europe’s largest public-private partnership aiming to improve the drug development process, has launched the ENABLE (European Gram Negative Antibacterial Engine) project. The programme works with seven lines of compounds developed across Europe. One of them has been developed by Professor Francesc Rabanal, from the Department of Organic Chemistry of the Faculty of Chemistry at the University of Barcelona. According to Professor Rabadal, “ENABLE is a really competitive project that has selected the best laboratories that have the best antibiotic candidates across Europe. Each antibiotic line will be evaluated every three months”. For the moment, the research of the University of Barcelona is in the project for two years; during this period of time, details the expert, “the chemical synthesis will be done and the action mechanism of the compound line will be studied with a maximum budget of 751,000 euros”. “In two years —he adds—, if we have provided new compounds, we will continue competing”.

The ENABLE project is a good example of collaboration between public and private sectors. Over 30 European universities and European companies, led by the multinational pharmaceutical GlaxoSmithKline and Uppsala University (Sweden), collaborate in this project. The goal of this and other projects is to mobilise expertise from universities and industry in Europe to meet global challenges and place Europe at the forefront of collaborative research between industry and academia for health challenges.

Marta Alegret (Universitat de Barcelona)

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