The antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is the he ability of microorganisms to resist antimicrobial treatments, especially antibiotics. It has a direct impact on human health as it is responsible for 33,000 deaths in EU and 35,000 in the USA on a total estimated 3.5millions antibiotic-resistant infections.
AMR can affect anyone at any stage of life, making it one of the world’s most urgent public health problems. If antibiotics lose their effectiveness, then we lose the ability to treat infections and many medical acts are dependent on the ability to fight infections including joint replacements, organ transplants, cancer therapy, and treatment of chronic diseases like diabetes, asthma, and rheumatoid arthritis.
The resistance arises due to the overuse of antibiotics. Not only in human health also because of its use in agriculture and aquaculture contributes to the emergence of resistant bacteria and their spread to humans as those antibiotics ends up in the waste, water and human food.
Microbial drug persistence is a different phenomenon but linked with resistance. Persistence occurs when a subpopulation of microorganisms is able to survive antimicrobial treatment without necessary acquiring resistance. This occurs when a subpopulation of a few bacteria “escape” the treatment by different still debated mechanisms. Microbial persisters can cause recurrent or intractable infections, causing chronic infections carrying an increasing clinical burden.
Our drug candidate Ol20-01 has shown unique biological activity, able not only to eliminate resistant bacteria but also persistent ones. We aim at curing patients suffering from chronic infections and that suffer from many infectious relapses.
Why looking in the sea ?
Marine molecules remain untapped sources for the discovery of new anti-infectives due to the richness of pharmacophores (molecular features that are necessary for molecular recognition by a biological macromolecule). Indeed marine organisms represent a largely unexplored source for new marine valuable pharmacological products. These molecules have diverse structural complexities with chemical features and biological specificities that have been driven by a competitive environment that promote evolutionary development of species and may be the driving force for the production of these interesting molecules.
Many approaches exist do develop new molecules. At Olgram we focus on exploring new natural yet undiscovered resources in the Oceans has we are persuaded that there is still a tremendous potential and this approach has proven to be a wealthy source of medicines.