Promising Perth research on horizon to tackle superbugs

Stock image.
Stock image.

WITH antibiotic-resistant superbugs emerging as a potentially apocalyptic scenario for humankind there is some promising research on the horizon.

The Telethon Kids Institute and WA pharmaceuticals company Boulos and Cooper have signed a $685,000 agreement to develop what could be the first new class of antibiotics in decades.

In the last 30 years, only one fundamentally new class of antibiotics has been approved for clinical use.

In this time, many strains of bacteria have now developed a strong resistance to current antibiotics, reducing treatment options for patients infected with multi-resistant superbugs.

This potential new class of antibiotics will exploit a different vulnerability of bacteria – making it much harder for the microorganism to escape the effects of the antibiotics.

It’s hoped the new class of antibiotics will be able to attack some of the biggest pathogens in the world, including strains of golden staph that no longer respond to current antibiotics, Clostridium Difficile Infection, which is the number one cause of diarrhoea requiring hospitalisation in Australia, and Pseudomonas.

The prospective new class of antibiotic is the invention of Perth scientist Dr Ramiz Boulos, CEO of Bolous and Cooper Pharmaceuticals, who is now hoping to commercialise the discovery.

“This could be a completely new type of weapon in our antibiotics arsenal,” he said.

“The pre-clinical findings are an exciting discovery that I believe will lead to new drugs that save thousands of lives for decades to come.

“What I see with this technology is that it has the potential to completely disrupt the antibiotic industry – it could be one of the first fundamentally new class of antibiotics to be approved in decades.

“Following the completion of our pre-clinical trials over the next 12 months, we hope to proceed to clinical trials in the coming years.”

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria has already been recognised by governments and industry as a serious problem accounting for more than 700,000 deaths worldwide each year.

It is predicted that by 2050, this number will jump to over 10 million deaths annually – with an associated cost of US$100 trillion annually.