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A New Front in the War on Superbugs

Posted on 15 October 2014

Dr Paul Clarke (Chemistry) and Dr Gavin Thomas (Biology) have been awarded over £600,000 by the EPSRC for a project called “A New Front in the War on Superbugs: Synthetic and Biological Studies on the Potent Antibiotic Anthracimycin”.

PAC Anthracimycin image

Bacterial infections are becoming increasingly hard to treat with current antibiotics and it is well recognised that new treatments are required.  The government and the WHO continue to highlight the development of new antibiotics as an area of high priority.  Anthracimycin is a newly discovered polyketide natural product with potent Gram positive antibiotic activity, and is especially active against MRSA.  This proposal will build on Clarke’s previous EPSRC-funded work in the area of the synthesis of natural products active against MRSA and Thomas’s BBSRC funded work and seeks to rapidly respond to the disclosure of anthracimycin, and establish a leading presence in the field of developing these molecules as antibiotics of last resort.  This project brings together experts in natural product synthesis and microbiology and aims to develop a chemical synthesis of anthracimycin, chlorinated anthracimycin analogue and chlorotonil A and then elucidate the mechanism by which they exert their antibiotic activity.