Bioversys, Aptuit team up to find novel antibiotic targets

A culture of the Gram-negative bacteria Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

Bioversys has enlisted Aptuit to support its efforts to identify and validate novel targets and drugs against Gram-negative bacteria. GlaxoSmithKline collaborator Bioversys is looking to Aptuit for drug discovery capabilities to support its own approach to overcoming antibiotic resistance.

Basel, Switzerland-based Bioversys is built upon an antibiotic technology called TRIC, an acronym of transcriptional regulator inhibitory compounds. TRIC is designed to screen, identify and advance molecules that hit bacterial mechanisms of resistance. By inactivating these mechanisms, the Swiss biotech thinks it can render bacteria susceptible to antibiotics against which they had developed resistance, opening the door to the continued use of established drugs.

Bioversys landed a collaboration with GSK and others to develop compounds that boost the efficacy of the established drug ethionamide in tuberculosis on the strength of its platform. That alliance has since spawned a preclinical candidate against multidrug-resistant tuberculosis. Now, the ETH Zurich spinout has moved to bolster its capabilities by signing up to work with drug development service provider Aptuit.

"We are excited to collaborate with Aptuit on this project as they have a proven track record in antibacterial drug discovery,” Bioversys CEO Marc Gitzinger, Ph.D., said in a statement. "At BioVersys we focus on the continuous development of our TRIC technology and on new targets to address the global health threat caused by multidrug-resistant bacteria. In Aptuit, we found a strong partner to support us in further developing our innovative therapies.”

Aptuit will bring its in vitro and in vivo infectious disease drug discovery capabilities to the project, enabling Bioversys to round out its capacity to uncover and validate novel targets and compounds.

To date, Bioversys has focused its attention on tuberculosis and hospital-acquired infections. In both cases, the idea is to tackle the growing threat posed by multidrug-resistant bacteria by taking down their defenses against established antibiotics.