Galapagos receives €2.7m IWT grant for antibacterial research

Will use DnaE expertise to discover new antibiotic treatments against Staphylococcus aureus

Galapagos, a Belgian biotechnology firm, has received a €2.7m grant from the Flemish agency for Innovation by Science and Technology (IWT) to discover new antibiotic treatments.

In November 2012, Mechelen-based Galapagos said it had discovered a candidate drug targeting DNA pol III alpha (DnaE), an enzyme in bacteria that is essential for their growth, which showed strong activity against all tested drug resistant Staphylococcus aureus, including MRSA strains.

In this three-year, IWT-funded project, Galapagos will exploit its expertise in DNA pol III alpha (DnaE) to discover new antibiotic treatments against additional bacterial species.

Galapagos will collaborate with the research groups of Professor Dr Johan Vander Eycken at Ghent University and Professor Dr Wim Versées from the Free University Brussels.

The researchers will look for molecules active against the DnaE of other species of bacteria, focusing on Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Enterococcus faecium, which pose the most urgent medical need. Upon project completion, Galapagos aims to generate at least one novel candidate antibacterial drug.

‘With our CAM-1 candidate drug we are already a step closer to a solution to MRSA infections, but there is still a need for medicines against other resistant bacteria,’ said Dr Piet Wigerinck, CSO of Galapagos. ‘With this grant, we can support the search for more novel inhibitors of the antibacterial target DNA pol III alpha to fight against these difficult-to-treat bacterial species.’

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