University of Exeter enters virtual screening collaboration with Cresset Discovery to accelerate discovery of novel antimicrobial drugs

Cresset Discovery, provider of molecular modeling expertise for drug discovery, is collaborating with the University of Exeter to find new antimicrobial drugs. Cresset Discovery will deploy its expertise in virtual screening to identify promising new candidates, building on research led by Dr Stefano Pagliara.

Virtual screening is a powerful computational technique in the drug discovery toolbox. It enables chemists to explore new chemical space, discover diverse chemotypes and generate new IP, and is far more cost-effective than wet-lab high throughput screening (HTS).

Antimicrobials play a fundamental role in modern medicine, but the presence of drug-resistant pathogens has led to reduced efficacy. Five million deaths worldwide are already associated with infections caused by pathogens that are resistant to antibiotics. It has been predicted that such infections will be the leading cause of death by 2050 with a cumulative cost to society of $100 trillion; therefore, bacterial infections are now a key priority for the World Health Organization.

Dr Pagliara’s research is tackling antimicrobial resistance by quantifying the accumulation of existing and novel drugs in individual bacterial pathogens as well as the efficacy of such drugs in clearing out bacterial infections.

“I am very excited to work on this antimicrobial resistance project together with Cresset Discovery. By engaging Cresset, we can rapidly screen libraries of millions of compounds, one molecule at a time. Our joint goal is to discover molecules that interfere with the functioning of novel bacterial targets that we have identified in my laboratory. By using such molecules as antibiotic adjuvants we will increase the accumulation and efficacy of existing antibiotics,” says Dr Stefano Pagliara, associate professor at the University of Exeter.

“The University of Exeter has appointed Cresset Discovery to advance the discovery of new antimicrobial drug candidates through the application of computational chemistry approaches and expertise,” says Dr Martin Slater, director at Cresset Discovery. “Our team has a proven track record in delivering virtual screening projects globally and we look forward to working with Dr Pagliara and his team in this exciting new collaboration.”

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