Treatments to solve global antibiotic crisis may reach the market in 2020


Helperby Therapeutics has developed the first sustainable solution to combat all three deadly critical priority pathogens named by World Health Organisation (WHO)1

Treatments to solve global antibiotic crisis may reach the market in 2020

Helperby Therapeutics, a pioneering British biopharmaceuticals company, has developed a novel answer to the clear and present danger of antimicrobial resistance — antibiotic resistance breakers (ARBs).

Doctors increasingly rely on last resort antibiotics such as carbapenems and colistin, but as harmful bacteria continue to mutate, this final line of resistance will eventually fail.

WHO has dedicated World Antibiotic Awareness Week (13-17 November 2017) to ‘Handle Antibiotics With Care’.

Helperby’s solution to this critical problem and ground-breaking innovation, is ARBs — novel technology that rejuvenates existing antibiotics into long-term effective combination therapies.

WHO has identified the immediate threat from 3 critical priority pathogens, for which there is currently limited antibiotic protection:

  • Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE)
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa (Carbapenem-resistant)
  • Acinetobacter (Carbapenem-resistant)

The most dangerous bacteria are CRE, causing severe and often fatal infections such as septicaemia and pneumonia. CRE has spread from Asia into Europe and the US, is epidemic and doubles every two years.2

Rejuvenation technology

Helperby’s ARBs rejuvenate existing antibiotics, enabling them to puncture the tough cell wall of CRE and other evolving superbugs to allow existing last-resort antibiotics to effectively do their work.

The ARB rejuvenation process can be performed repeatedly on different combinations of existing antibiotics to outsmart resistance.

“New classes of antibiotics are difficult to develop, and none have been marketed for more than 30 years,” said Prof Anthony Coates, Chief Scientific Officer of Helperby Therapeutics.

“It is therefore imperative we keep existing antibiotics working. We are one of only 6 companies in the world that have new antibiotics in clinical development, which are potentially effective against all three of WHO’s critical priority pathogens.”

ARBs are novel, effective and transferable, potentially producing many variants of new antibiotic combination.

One ARB can be applied to multiple different classes of antibiotics, reducing the size, time and resources in Phase 3 clinical trials normally required for new chemical entities.

Importantly, Helperby’s solution meets WHO's four innovation criteria for effective new antibiotic protection:

  • absence of cross-resistance to existing antibiotics
  • new chemical class
  • new target
  • new mechanism of action

Helperby has two formats of ARB combination currently in development — in six programmes — three are in clinical trials.

Principal treatments currently in development include:

Clinical trials

  • Urinary tract infections
  • Intra-abdominal infections
  • Skin infections
  • MRSA — removal of nasal carriage of MRSA to prevent post-surgical staphylococcal infections


  • Cystic fibrosis and lung infections

Professor Coates said: “Helperby’s Antibiotic Resistance Breakers are an imminent solution to all three of the critical priority pathogens as identified by the WHO. We are potentially just 3–5 years away from the market.”


  1. World Health Organisation. "Antibacterial agents in clinical development: an analysis of the antibacterial clinical development pipeline, including tuberculosis," Geneva, (2017).
  2. Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy (2017). Available at: [Accessed 12 Nov. 2017].
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