The scientists: This project is about “Optimisation of a class of oxadiazole compounds targeting Mycobacterium tuberculosis inside macrophages” and is conducted by Jaime Escribano and Ms. Minjeong Seo. Jaime Escribano holds a PhD in Chemistry (Organic and Inorganic synthesis and catalysis) from the Department of Chemistry at the University of Burgos in Madrid. His colleague Minjeong holds a Masters in Chemistry from Korea University.
The sponsor: This collaboration with the Institute Pasteur Korea is led by Principal Investigator Dr Kevin Pethe a group leader of Antibacterial Drug Discovery and a coordinator of IP-K Drug Discovery Programs. The Institut Pasteur Korea (IP-K) is a non-profit organisation based in Seoul, South Korea. It was established in 2004 based on the collaboration agreement with a world-leading life sciences research institute, Institut Pasteur, and the Korean Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning. Integrating Institut Pasteur‘s 120 years+ of biotechnological knowledge with Korea’s state-of-the-art information technology and chemical research capabilities, IP-K has established itself as a well-renowned transnational research institute. With a focus on enabling technologies and therapeutics development in disease models pertaining to public health, IP-K leverages the systematic implementation of visual high throughput screening in conjunction with imaging approaches in critical steps of infectious and chronic disease. By enabling real-time observation of live disease cells,IP-K’s technology accelerates the drug discovery process, reduces its cost, opens the door to entirely new classes of drugs, and offers new insights into the mechanisms of disease.
Foundation funding: The Foundation is providing £131,167 in support.
GlaxoSmithKline’s contribution: GSK is providing in-kind contributions (including facilities and expertise from supporting scientists for HTS and GSK collection of compounds).
Project Description: There is an alarming increase in the number of cases of multi-drug resistant tuberculosis. This form of disease is particularly difficult to treat because the bacteria have become resistant to the most efficient antibiotics. Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacteria responsible for human tuberculosis is able to infect and hide in human macrophages (a cell of the immune defence system). Once inside a macrophage, the bacteria become naturally resistant to most anti-Tuberculosis drugs. The InstitutPasteur Korea recently discovered a new class of compounds that specifically kill Mycobacterium tuberculosis residing inside macrophages. During their time at the Open Lab, both Jaime and Minjeong are focusing their expertise in medicinal chemistry and cytotoxicity to enhance the efficacy and safety of this new class of compound.
“By developing a new class of drug, we hope to contribute to the development of the next generation of medicines that will be used to treat patients suffering from multi-drug resistant tuberculosis.” (Dr. Jaime Escribano, Open Lab scientist)