Could next class of antibiotics be powered by Bicycles?

PUBLISHED: 18:18 10 January 2018 | UPDATED: 18:18 10 January 2018

A new class of antibiotics is desperately required amid growing antimicrobial resistance to existing drugs

A new class of antibiotics is desperately required amid growing antimicrobial resistance to existing drugs

Milos Jokic

Babraham Research Campus-based Bicycle Therapeutics awarded Innovate UK grant

Sir Gregory Winter at Bicycle Therapeutics - the company was founded on technology he pioneeredSir Gregory Winter at Bicycle Therapeutics - the company was founded on technology he pioneered

Bicycle Therapeutics has been awarded a grant from Innovate UK to develop the next generation of novel antibiotics.

The biotech company, which is developing a new class of therapeutics from its base at Babraham Research Campus, will apply its proprietary bicyclic peptide, or ‘Bicycle’ technology to the challenge.

The project will be led by Dr Mike Dawson, a former chief executive officer of Cantab Anti-Infectives with 30 years of experience in infectious disease drug discovery and development.

Dr Kevin Lee, CEO of Bicycle Therapeutics, said: “This competitive and peer-reviewed award builds on our strategy to explore the utility for Bicycles beyond oncology using non-dilutive funding. It also provides further validation of the versatility of the Bicycle platform and its broad potential for application across all therapy areas, including anti-bacterials.

Dr Kevin Lee, CEO of Bicycle TherapeuticsDr Kevin Lee, CEO of Bicycle Therapeutics

“Bicycles are structurally highly similar to many commonly prescribed natural product cyclic peptide antibiotics. Our enormously diverse compound library and highly efficient optimized screening approach will allow us to generate next generation antibiotics.

“We are grateful to Innovate UK for their vote of confidence and are looking forward to working with Mike Dawson to advance a much-needed novel approach in this extremely important area of research.”

Dr Dawson spent 20 years at GlaxoSmithKline leading the natural product chemistry and biotransformations programs, contributing to the development of three marketed antiviral agents and multiple clinical stage antibacterials and antifungals. He then co-founded Novacta Biosystems, where he led the NVB302 program from concept to clinic for C. difficile infection.

He said: “New anti-infective products are desperately needed to combat the rapidly growing threat of antimicrobial resistance, an area of critical unmet medical need.

Bicycle Therapeutics at Babraham Research CampusBicycle Therapeutics at Babraham Research Campus

“The antibiotics field has seen little innovation in recent years, with just three new classes of antibiotics introduced during the past 40 years.

“I am delighted to be collaborating with Bicycle to advance this exciting work. The funding from Innovate UK will enable our team to make important progress in advancing a truly innovative, and potentially transformative, approach to treating infectious diseases.”

Bicycles combine high affinity with exquisite selectivity in a chemically synthesized format.

Bicycle Therapeutics’ internal focus is oncology, and the small size of Bicycles helps with rapid tumour penetration. The lead program, BT718, is rapidly advancing towards the clinic in collaboration with Cancer Research UK.

The operation of BicyclesThe operation of Bicycles

Innovate UK is the UK’s innovation agency, driving forward science and technology to aid economic growth.

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