Home' Australian Pharmacist : Australian Pharmacist October 2016 Contents we’ll screen it against five different types of bacteria –
one G+ (MRSA), four of the most serious G- bacteria – and
two fungi because there is a lack of drugs that are active
against fungi.’ (Cryptococcus and Candida)
CO-ADD screens the compound and if it is active they
complete follow up assays to determine a concentration
profile to see how effective the compounds are and
whether they are cytotoxic against mammalian cells.
If they kill human cells as easily as they kill bacteria cells
without any selectivity they are too toxic. All that data
is sent back to the person who sent the compound.
They retain all the rights to it.
‘ The researcher gets all the rights and the information
back and they can do whatever they want with it.
They can publish a paper. If the results are really
good they can try taking the compound forward for
development as an antibiotic. We are able to provide
guidance to them as to what things they should
be trying or who they could go to next for funding,’
Dr Blaskovich said.
CO-ADD tries to encourage people who would never
have considered antimicrobial research to get interested,
particularly if they get active compounds.
‘Most academic people are keen to follow up on
something of interest. If they’ve had a compound sitting
around that hasn’t been of any use to them but suddenly
find it is potentially an antibiotic then they are going to
start researching it further.
CO-ADD has attracted huge interest. In the first 18 months
more than 120,000 compounds were submitted from
over 150 groups worldwide. To date 50,000 have been
screened and more than 500 have been identified as
having promising activity.
Dr Blaskovich said CO-ADD was at the stage of validating
‘ There is a number of interesting compounds in there but
it is still early days.’
To promote collaboration CO-ADD has developed
contacts with other organisations including Compounds
Australia, IMI ENABLE (the European Union Innovative
Medicines Initiative – European Gram-negative
Antibacterial Engine), ChEMBL, ANTRUK (Antibiotic
Resistance UK), NPS MedicineWise, the RACI, Royal Society
for Chemistry and American Chemical Society.
Importantly, the output of CO-ADD (validated
antimicrobial activity under standardised conditions,
coupled with additional characterisation) is the data
package that IMI-ENABLE is asking for in submissions for
hit-to-IND (investigational new drug) development, and is
potentially sufficient to attract funding from the new
A unique resource
All of the CO-ADD screening data will be collated into a publicly
accessible database and made available to scientists to see what
types of compounds have antimicrobial activity, and importantly,
what types do not.
One of the requirements for people submitting compounds is that
they have to let CO-ADD know what the structure is within two years
after they have the data back.
‘ The idea for that is so we can have this publicly accessible database
where we have all the data on compounds’ structures and whether
they are active or not active.
‘It will be a unique resource which will be incredibly helpful for
future researchers trying to develop new antibiotics, getting a better
idea of what type of structures have potential as antibiotics.
The problem now, when trawling through the literature is that when
people are testing for antimicrobial activity there are all sorts of
different conditions; different bacteria, different concentrations,
different testing methodologies. So it is difficult to compare one set
of data with another.
CO-ADD however, is going to have hundreds of thousands of
compounds compared under standardised conditions against a
relatively large set of different types of bacteria.
‘It potentially could be a game changer for researchers in the future.
Particularly as computational chemistry methods become more
advanced it could be very useful for trying to pick up structure
activity relationship for things that are either G+ or G- or picking up
what things make it selective for bacteria versus mammalian cells,’
Dr Blaskovich said.
1. Tackling drug-resistant infections globally : Final report and recommendations. The review on
antimicrobial resistance. May 2016. At: http://amr-review.org/sites/default/files/160518_Final%20
2. Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (ACSQHC). AURA 2016: first Australian
report on antimicrobial use and resistance in human health. Sydney : ACSQHC, 2016. At: www.
Australian Pharmacist October 2016 I ©Pharmaceutical Society of Australia Ltd.
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