Progress towards more effective antibiotic treatments


To combat the major challenge posed by the increasing resistance of bacteria to older generation antibiotics, researchers at ULB are developing an innovative approach that could save hundreds of thousands of human lives worldwide.

In 2021, Professors Abel Garcia-Pino and Cédric Govaerts from ULB founded the company Santero Therapeutics, a spin-off that will allow them to promote the results of their research on the fundamental mechanisms of bacterial metabolism.

By investigating the properties of an enzyme essential for the development and survival of bacteria, the two scientists have identified a very specific protein that has never before been the target of a natural or artificial antibiotic. As Professor Govaerts explains, "We really think we've found an Achilles' heel in bacterial resistance. And we are also killing two birds with one stone, since this enzyme is not only essential in the development of the pathogen, it is also involved in the development of resistance. By tackling it, we will also avoid resistance building up too quickly. It's a bit of a magic recipe." The Belgian researchers are therefore aiming to develop new pharmacological tools to treat serious infections for which there are currently no effective solutions.

Santero Therapeutics is still seeking additional funding in 2022, and plans to move quickly to a pre-clinical model of their discoveries, which is a prerequisite for more specific drug production in the future.