I’d like to help publicize what seems like a very worthwhile effort, funded by the University of Queensland and the Wellcome Trust: the Community for Open Antimicrobial Drug Discovery (CO-ADD). Here’s a writeup on them in Nature – what they’re doing is taking compounds from all sources and screening them against panels of important human pathogens, both bacterial and fungal. And they’re doing it free of charge, with no intellectual property claims. It’s hard to see a downside to that!
They’ve received 40,000 compounds since their launch last year, but the numbers are set to increase, and they’re hoping to screen one million by 2020:
The compounds are tested for antimicrobial activity against the most dangerous hospital-acquired, antibiotic-resistant infections Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Acinetobacter baumannii, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), as well as the common causes of fungal infections Cryptococcus neoformans and Candida albicans. The programme is working with 88 groups from 26 countries and has a further 300,000 compounds on the way, including those from what will be the first nationwide antimicrobial screening project to be coordinated by France’s National Centre for Scientific Research.
Here’s the link for sending compounds – they need 1mg of dry sample or 50 microliters of 10 mg/mL DMSO stock. They’re ready for everything from single compounds to entire plated libraries. They’re looking for single compounds, not extracts or mixtures, and they’d be glad to get purity information, but it’s not a requirement. 5% of all samples are tested randomly by LC/MS, and anything that hits automatically gets more QC. The workflow is just what you’d expect: single-concentration screen for activity, followed by dose-response for actives, followed by a broader panel and counterscreens for the ones that make it past that. You get 18 months after the results are delivered to patent or publish, and after that the data will appear in an open-access database.
So far, they have 131 compound with confirmed activity against the bacteria or fungi and no toxicity against human cell lines. My guess is that many of these will recapitulate existing mechanisms or activity profiles, but that’s why you do screening, isn’t it? This looks like an excellent chance to get all sorts of unusual chemical matter in front of these organisms, especially for academic groups who may be making some things that wouldn’t usually be seen in a med-chem lab – honestly, I just wish I had all those compounds I made back in grad school so I could send them in now. (The things I’ve made in industry since then have, in many cases, actually seen several of these assays). Time to clean off the shelves!