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AGILeBiotics: Empowering new antibiotic development

Health innovation research in Groningen
10 May 2017
Text by Neeltje Miedema, Research & Valorisation

The continuous emergence of bacterial resistance against existing antibiotics is life threatening to society. Due to the continuous emergence of bacterial resistance and reduced antibiotic approval the society is running out of treatment options against bacterial infections. ‘Soon bacterial infections will be the number one cause of death,’ says Dr. Andreas A. Bastian, CEO and co-founder of the Zernike Campus Groningen based pharmaceutical company AGILeBiotics.

Dr. Andreas A. Bastian
Dr. Andreas A. Bastian

Without acceleration of antibiotic development, death rate will increase by 10-fold by 2050, reaching 250,000 in Europe and 10 million deaths worldwide. The University of Groningen spin-off is developing the next generation antibiotics, which will contribute to the fight against life-threatening bacterial infections; in a quite revolutionary , innovative and for all cost reducing way.

Andreas: ‘ Together with regional and international partners AGILeBiotics is developing natural product based antibiotics against infections caused by multi-drug-resistant bacteria. At AGILeBiotics, we focus on reviving an existing class of antibiotics, an approach with significant higher chance for entering the market.

Health innovation

AGILeBiotics employs a new technology, called OxaSelect, that simplifies structural modification of an existing class of antibiotics. This technology has been developed by Dr. Andreas A. Bastian during a joined project between Prof. Andreas Herrmann and Prof. Adriaan Minnaard at the UG in 2011/2012.

Andreas: ‘OxaSelect is a scalable chemical reaction, which will accelerate our in-house antibiotics development against multidrug resistant bacteria of major concern. Moreover, compared to other strategies, OxaSelect reduces the costs during early preclinical studies by 40% and in clinical stages by 20%. Using OxaSelect we have developed a first lead compound, which shows activity against resistant Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria. Thanks to OxaSelect the synthesis effort for our antibiotic candidates is reduced by up to 55%.’

Success story

In 2012, Andreas Bastian graduated (cum laude) at the Groningen University under supervision of Prof. Andreas Herrmann, cofounder of AGILeBiotics. Awarded with the Rubicon Research Grant, he gained experience in antibiotic development during his postdoc in the group of Prof. Shahriar Mobashery at the University of Notre Dame in the United States. Then, while being employed as Veni Research Fellow at the UG, he decided to launch AGILeBiotics, where he is employing his experience for the development of antibacterials for the pharmaceutical market. AGILeBiotics is developing new antibiotics in close cooperation with Prof Alex Friedrich and Prof. Bhanu Sinha, Genomics for Infection Prevention, UMCG, and Prof. Andreas Herrmann, Polymer Chemistry and Bioengineering, UG. The final goal of AGILeBiotics’ is to out-license an antibiotic candidate in clinical stages.

The office of the company is located at the Innolab for Chemistry building at the Groningen Campus. Innolab is a by Prof Ben Feringa, university of Groningen, initiated incubator for start-ups in the Chemistry that provides lab facilities and business development support. Andreas: ‘This incubator concept is working extremely well for startups and small companies. It allows us to fully focus on the research.’

A success story under way. Andreas: ‘Successful new antibiotic development takes more than 10 years,’ young entrepreneur places his groundbreaking research into perspective. To advance an antibiotic candidate into late clinical studies several rounds of investment are required. After receiving a preseed investment from the RUG Houdstermaatschappij B.V., Hanzepoort B.V, Stichting Ir. G.J. Smid Fonds, AGILeBiotics successfully started the development of novel antibiotics in March 2017.’

Last modified:15 September 2017 3.20 p.m.

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