A technology that could reverse antibiotic resistance will advance towards the clinic thanks to a licensing deal spearheaded by The University of Queensland’s commercialisation company UniQuest.

The novel technology, which could aid in the global fight against antibiotic resistant superbugs by restoring the activity of antibiotics, was today licensed to ASX and NASDAQ-listed company Alterity Therapeutics.

Developed by a coalition of scientists from UQ, The University of Melbourne, The University of Adelaide and Griffith University‘s Institute for Glycomics, the potential treatment combines zinc ionophores with several common antibiotics to treat infections caused by drug-resistant bacteria.

UniQuest CEO Dr Dean Moss said the technology had the potential to be a catalyst for change in what was a significant and growing public health problem.

“This partnership has significant potential to help combat a growing and complex global problem,” he said.

“It is gratifying to find partners like Alterity Therapeutics who are willing to help address this unmet need and it is fantastic to see yet another antimicrobial technology developed by UQ, in collaboration with other Australian researchers, take a step forward along the product development pathway.

“Deals like this only further cement UQ’s outstanding reputation as a research powerhouse.”

Dr Moss said the licensing deal, which is underpinned by results from an Australia-wide collaboration, was yet another example of the strength of UQ’s infectious disease research and followed on from recent UQ partnerships with the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations to further vaccine research, as well as the global antibiotic development accelerator, CARB-X.

Alterity Therapeutics Chairman and CEO Geoffrey Kempler said the technology would help identify a new way to combat antimicrobial resistance using its patented zinc ionophore compound, PBT2.

He said PBT2 had already completed long term safety studies and phase 2 testing with a favourable safety profile.

“Even without the effects of COVID-19, antibiotic resistant pathogens kill more than 700,000 people each year and represent a major threat to global public health,” he said.

“The approach developed by our collaborators is novel and potentially revolutionary.

“Existing antibiotics are losing the battle against these infections and science is struggling to keep up as pathogens continually adapt. Because we can combine PBT2 with existing antibiotics, many of which are generic, this approach has strong commercial value.”

Media: UniQuest Communications, Brooke Baskin, b.baskin@uniquest.com.au, +61 7 3365 7480, +61 409767199.