£3 million funding to support the development of new antimicrobials for cystic fibrosis patients

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Today (16 March 2023), Cystic Fibrosis (CF) Syndicate in Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) announces a £3 million Collaborative Discovery Programme for drug discovery innovators to accelerate the development of new treatments for people with CF.  

£3 million funding to support the development of new antimicrobials for cystic fibrosis patients
Dr Beverley Isherwood. Image Credit: CF AMR Syndicate

Funded by medical research charity LifeArc, the programme will support approximately five collaborative projects that aim to rapidly identify new antimicrobial therapies to treat chronic respiratory infections in people with CF.   

Researchers in academia and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) worldwide are eligible to apply, with projects expected to last up to two years, with total funding of up to £500,000 per project. Applicants must address patients' priorities for improving treatment set out in the CF AMR Syndicate's recently-published Target Product Profiles for Antimicrobials.   

The programme will offer a truly collaborative approach to drug development. Successful applicants can also access expert advice and practical support from managing partners Medicines Discovery Catapult (MDC), LifeArc and Cystic Fibrosis Trust.  

CF affects over 162,000 people globally. While advances in drug treatment have transformed the experience of many people with the condition, they have not benefited everyone. There continues to be an urgent need to identify new therapies.  

The build-up of thick sticky mucus in the lungs of people living with CF predisposes them to infections which can be difficult to clear. The development of frequent and persistent infections, which are difficult to treat, leads to a progressive decline in lung function. Treatment failure due to the development of resistance is frequently seen in people living with CF, and the consequences can be devastating. The discovery and development of new antimicrobials to treat infections associated with CF are, undoubtedly, an urgent unmet need.  

Dr Beverley Isherwood, Partnership Lead for Infectious Disease at Medicines Discovery Catapult, said: "The CF AMR Syndicate is a unique initiative that brings people with CF together with leading experts from across the industry, academia and clinical care to accelerate the translation of CF antimicrobials to the clinic. With this funding call, we aim to extend the impact of this patient-centred collective approach to contribute new promising antimicrobials for people who need them."   

Dr Catherine Kettleborough, LifeArc's Chronic Respiratory Infection Translational Challenge Lead, said: "This funding call is part of LifeArc's £100m programme to accelerate scientific innovation for people living with CF and bronchiectasis. Working with MDC and Cystic Fibrosis Trust, this funding call aims to deliver new therapies to end the vicious cycle of infection, inflammation and permanent lung damage for people living with CF."  

​​​​​​​People living with CF are particularly vulnerable to antimicrobial resistance. New antimicrobials that target infections caused by microbes commonly associated with lung infections in CF are urgently needed. We are delighted to announce this funding call aimed at stimulating new research and development into treatments with the potential to benefit people with CF."  

Dr Paula Sommer, Head of Research, Cystic Fibrosis Trust

The CF Syndicate in AMR is a cross-sector initiative that brings together leading experts in CF and AMR from industry, academia and the clinic with people with CF to accelerate the translation of CF antimicrobials to the clinic and bring new and effective treatment options to people with CF. The Syndicate was established in 2019 and is jointly managed by Medicines Discovery Catapult,  Cystic Fibrosis Trust and LifeArc.  

Expressions of interest will open on the CF AMR Syndicate website on 30 March and close on 9 May 2023.  


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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