Indian researcher `comes up with strategy to stop superbugs`

ANI| Updated: Nov 11, 2013, 10:13 AM IST

Washington: An Indian origin scientist is among the winners of a GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) "academic drug hunter" competition that will help fast track his lab's work in combating drug-resistant bacteria.

With this new partnership, Rahul Kohli, MD, PhD, an assistant professor in the division of Infectious Diseases and department of Biochemistry and Biophysics at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, and his lab can ramp up their efforts to discover drugs that stop the evolution in its tracks.

Rather than taking the conventional approach of modifying existing antibiotics to overcome resistance, Kohli's lab aims to target the very pathways by which bacteria adapt to antibiotics and evolve resistance.

Kohli's team, spearheaded by Charlie Mo, a graduate student in Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics, will now have access to 1.8 million compounds kept in GSK's chemical library and their other drug discovery technologies.

Kohli said that the search is on to find a molecule that can disrupt the pathway that allows bacteria to acquire drug resistance, asserting that the hope is that such a molecule can make bacteria more sensitive to existing antibiotics or slow the acquisition to the resistance, both of which would be valuable in the clinic.

This is GSK's first Discovery Fast Track competition in North America, which is designed to translate academic research into starting points for new potential medicines. There were eight winners in total across the country, selected from an initial pool of over 140 applications across 17 therapeutic areas and from 70 different institutions.