Addressing the Scientific Hurdles Facing Antibiotic Innovation

Despite significant investment in drug discovery programs, research avenues pursued by industry and academia over the past three decades have largely failed to produce novel antibiotic agents because of knowledge gaps in basic science. For example, infections caused by Gram-negative bacilli present a pressing unmet need, as the cell structure of Gram-negative bacteria renders the pathogens particularly resistant to antibiotics.

As major pharmaceutical companies have downsized or abandoned antibiotic research and development, the task of addressing scientific obstacles has fallen to small companies and academic laboratories, whose resources may be limited. To rejuvenate antibiotic discovery, a growing number of experts agree that action is needed to address key scientific bottlenecks and to facilitate better collaboration across the private and public sectors. 

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