Targeting virulence: discovery of next generation antibiotics

QBiotics’ next generation antibiotic programme is aimed at discovering new small molecules that address the ever-growing problem of multiple drug resistant bacteria. This programme leverages our extensive research into the antimicrobial activity of EBC-1013, our wound healing drug candidate.

Traditional antibiotics act by targeting bacterial growth and survival, which invariably leads to evolutionary pressure and the development of drug resistance. An alternative approach is to target ‘virulence’ factors that are produced by bacteria and are responsible for the features that cause pathogenicity and disease, for example, colonisation of host cells, tissue damage and toxin production. While virulence factors assist bacteria to infect their host they are generally not essential for survival.

Our antibiotic discovery programme focuses on disrupting and interfering with virulence factors to essentially disarm pathogenic bacteria.  Targeting bacterial virulence, rather than growth and survival, is much less likely to produce the evolutionary pressures that lead to development of drug resistance. This approach is likely to identify molecules with unique modes of action.