More and more pathogens are resistant to conventional antibiotics. Juvabis, a new biotech company, is set to strike a new path for medical research with its technology platform.
Antibiotics are naturally occurring microbial toxins, which have been chemically optimized since the 1970s. The problem is that researchers usually recognize too late whether a modified antibiotic will attack not only pathogens but also the body’s cells or whether it will cause side effects. “This increases costs and inhibits medical progress,” says the CEO of Juvabis, Dr. Sven Hobbie. In fact, hardly any new antibacterial drugs are currently coming to market. Hobbie and his colleagues from the University of Zurich and ETH Zurich have now developed a test environment to minimize the risk of side effects already at the test tube stage. By 2018, the founders of Juvabis want to conduct clinical trials with potential candidates for new substances. From a medical perspective, there is an urgent need for accelerated antibiotics research: Currently, around 700,000 patients worldwide die from resistant bacteria every year. “And if we do nothing,” warns microbiologist Hobbie, “this number will multiply.”