Customer profile – Oxford Drug Design
New antibiotics to treat drug-resistant infections
Antibiotics have, for decades, been "wonder drugs" that have saved countless lives. However, as has been much reported in the news, the currently used antibiotics are becoming increasingly ineffective as bacteria are evolving resistance.
Strains of bacteria are emerging that are resistant to all, or almost all, antibiotics, leaving doctors with few treatment options. The situation is serious and growing worse. In the words of Prof. Dame Sally Davies, the UK's Chief Medical Officer, "If we don’t act now, any one of us could go into hospital in 20 years for minor surgery and die because of an ordinary infection that can’t be treated by antibiotics. And routine operations like hip replacements or organ transplants could be deadly because of the risk of infection."
Oxford Drug Design, a spin-out company from Oxford University's Chemistry Department, are playing their part in the response to this crisis. Over many years, the company has developed sophisticated approaches to "Computer-Aided Drug Design". Briefly, this involves using computer algorithms and machine learning to understand the ways in which chemical compounds interact with biology, and use this knowledge to design potential new and better drugs.
Oxford Drug Design's main programme is developing an antibiotic that works in a new way (more formally, has a novel "mechanism of action"). This is important, because it means that it can be effective against bacteria that have become resistant to existing antibiotics, such as penicillins and cephalosporins.
The project is making excellent progress and, if all goes well, it could lead to a new drug in the clinic within the next few years. It is very rewarding to be working in a fascinating and challenging area of science that also has the potential to deliver a great benefit to society.
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