Anti-microbial resistance study puts spotlight on technologies that reduce dependence on antibiotics


Companies working on reducing dependence on antibiotics include Ondine Biomedical, while others working on anti-microbial resistance include Destiny Pharma

Anti-microbial resistance (AMR) and the decreasing effect of antibiotics today are a significant and growing global problem, according to a large study of the impact of AMR published in the Lancet had concluded. 

The study found that more than 1.2mln people died worldwide in 2019 from infections caused by bacteria resistant to antibiotics, in other words infections that were previously treatable but now the bacteria that cause them have become resistant to treatment.

Researchers used patient records from hospitals, studies and other data sources, which Professor Chris Murray, from Washington University said revealed the true scale of antimicrobial resistance worldwide and was a clear signal immediate action was needed “if we want to stay ahead in the race against antimicrobial resistance”.

This comes not long after a World Health Organisation (WHO) warning that the clinical pipeline of new antimicrobials is running low, with only 32 antibiotics in clinical development that address the WHO list of priority pathogens.

All in all, it puts the spotlight on alternative therapies and measures that reduce the transmission of pathogens and those that reduce dependence on antibiotics

Ondine Biomedical Inc (AIM:OBI), for example, has developed a photodisinfection technology that has been used in leading Canadian hospitals over 10 years and is currently undergoing Phase 2 trials. The technology is understood from both theory and practice to have no resistance forming elements.

“In my opinion, there have been very few, if any, other initiatives that have had such a profound and lasting impact on the health of British Columbians in the past 10 years,” said Dr John Street of the University of British Columbia and head of complex spine program at Vancouver General Hospital in Canada on the ondine technology.

Elsewhere, SpectrumX Holdings Ltd is developing an inhaled respiratory treatment with blockbuster potential and has a commercial product that looks set to generate significant near-term revenues.

Both innovations harness the antimicrobial qualities of a chemical known as hypochlorous acid (HOCl), which is produced as a vital component of our bodies immune system to destroy unwanted bacteria and viruses. 

Destiny Pharma PLC (AIM:DEST) is another focused on AMR treatments.

Destiny’s pipeline includes two programmes poised for final Phase 3 clinical trials: XF-73 nasal gel for the decolonisation of patients prior to surgery who are carrying Staphylococcus aureus in the nose and a potential treatment to prevent recurrence of gut infections caused by toxic strains of C. difficile infections.

As chief executive Neil Clark said last year: “We are working hard to bring new medicines to patients that address the global threat of AMR whilst at the same time delivering cost effective and safe treatments to patients and healthcare practitioners. Our XF platform has been targeted at the AMR threat for many years and we are very well positioned to rise to the challenge presented by these dangerous pathogens.”

Last summer, a G7 health ministers’ meeting highlighted the global threat of the “silent pandemic” of AMR.

The ministers called for G7 countries to support investment, regulatory and commercial incentives to companies that are focused on AMR treatments, recognising “the importance of the research and development in new and innovative antimicrobials as well as alternatives to antimicrobials; vaccines, diagnostics and other countermeasures; and the need to take bolder steps to mitigate, minimise and contain the risk of AMR”.



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