Japanese pharmaceutical company Shionogi is out-licensing its anti-virulence therapy to the AMR Centre at Alderley Park, Cheshire.
The UK’s R&D centre for antimicrobial resistance will have exclusive global rights to research, develop and manufacture COT-143, a humanised antibody designed to treat Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections.
The centre is in discussions with The Royal Liverpool Hospital to perform clinical trials there in 2020.
Dr Peter Jackson, executive director of the AMRC, said: “Our dwindling supply of antibiotics continues to pose a grave threat to global health.
“Projects such as COT-143 are an example of excellent research struggling to progress in the context of market failure around the development of new antibiotics. Our role is to bridge that gap and get these programmes moving forward.”
Dr Jackson said it will be the first programme the AMR Centre will get into clinics and have tested on people.
Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a drug-resistant pathogen found in soil, water, skin and most man-made environments. It thrives on moist surfaces and is capable of contaminating medical equipment.
The pathogen, which has a natural resistance to antibiotics, is also a cause of pneumonia, urinary tract infections and lung infections in people with cystic fibrosis.
COT-143 is a novel humanized monoclonal antibody. It does not kill bacteria directly but targets an element that prevents the immune system from acting against the infection.
It inhibits the PcrV component of the type 3 secretion system (T3SS), a key virulence mechanism of Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
“COT-143 is an advanced programme that has produced very promising data against a dangerous pathogen that has a great deal of natural resistance to antibiotics,” Dr Jackson said.
AMC Centre has not paid Shionogi as part of the agreement; rather the two companies will share in revenues if the project progresses to market.