Antibiotics- the beginning or the end?

By Professor Anthony Coates, Helperby Therapeutics plc

The world is running out of antibiotics. Helperby Therapeutics is developing a new approach-Antibiotic Resistance Breakers.

  1. The world is running out of antibiotics-"A post-antibiotic era means, in effect, an end to modern medicine as we know it". Dr Margaret Chan, Director-General WHO, 14th March, 2012.
  2. Finding new antibiotic classes is too difficult, too slow and too costly
  3. Rejuvenating old antibiotics with Antibiotic Resistance Breakers could be an important way forward

World leaders tell us that we are running out of antibiotics and this means, in effect, the end to modern medicine as we know it. This is because many surgical operations, cancer treatments and care of preterm infants would become too dangerous to undertake without effective antibiotics.

Whilst there are at least 10 ways to address this problem, the bottom line is that we need new effective antibiotics. Or could we rejuvenate our existing antibiotics? Helperby Therapeutics is developing a new approach, making Antibiotic Resistance Breakers which boost the affect of old antibiotics against highly resistant bacteria. Because these Breakers do not necessarily have to kill bacteria themselves, they can be simpler, cheaper and quicker to develop than a new class of antibiotic. This could be the beginning of a new era of combination therapy including Antibiotic Resistance Breakers.

For more information about Helperby  Therapeutics, visit us at

For more information about St George's, University of London, visit us at the Institute of Infection and Immunity

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