Key elements: 2-year funding of postdoctoral positions

Shionogi partner with the Centre for Molecular Bacteriology and Infection (CMBI) to target biological mechanisms linked to antimicrobial resistance.

Delivering continuously new antibiotics to medical fields is one of Shionogi’s missions, and we place high importance on the proper use of antibiotics to tackle antimicrobial resistance. [Shionogi and Imperial's collaboration] could lead to the development of effective therapies to reduce the risk of relapsing or chronic infections and the emergence of antibiotic resistance during treatment."

Dr Takeshi Shiota

Head of Pharmaceutical Research Division, Shionogi

In 2018 Imperial College London partnered with the Osaka-based pharmaceuticals company Shionogi for the first time.  The inaugural project funds two post-doctoral positions for two years within the MRC Centre for Molecular Bacteriology and Infection (CMBI) at Imperial.  The projects will investigate the biological mechanisms that make some infections so difficult to treat.

CMBI researchers Dr Sophie Helaine and Dr Andy Edwards will lead the efforts.  In addition to the specific focus on biological mechanism, the researchers hope to have a wider impact progressing research in antimicrobial resistance.

Dr Helaine's research into bacterial pathogens has focused on persister cells.  Pathogenic bacteria such as Salmonella can sometimes persist in the body in a dormant state, surviving the treatment, but then awake later on causing a relapse of the infection.

"This collaboration is the result of extensive conversations between Imperial and Shionogi," said Dr Helaine.  "The additional support of industry partners will enable us to intensify our efforts to tackle hard to treat infections, which could ultimately help reduce the numbers of patients with infections for which existing antimicrobial treatments no longer work."

Dr Edwards, whose work focuses on the molecular basis of hard to treat infections, including how bacteria evolve resistance to drugs added: "Despite the pace of biomedical advances and an arsenal of drugs to combat infections, some pathogens remain difficult to treat.  Only through a better understanding of how these organisms attack, infect and persist in the human body will we be able to develop new methods to treat them effectively.  This new venture with Shionogi is another step towards this goal."

You can read the full news article here.

Shionogi case study

An Imperial delegation visiting Shionogi in Osaka