Fraunhofer Launches A Pioneering Collaboration: The German-Australian iCAIR Project

Published: Oct 12, 2017

Battling infection and resistance

HANNOVER, Germany--(BUSINESS WIRE)--These days, even a “simple” infection can become a deadly threat. Bacteria keep developing new resistances to antibiotics, presenting the international medical community with a significant problem. There is a desperate need for new medications. The biggest hurdle in developing new medications is getting them from the laboratory into clinical trials, bridging the gap from the discovery of new agents to their development by the pharmaceutical industry into potential medications. Now researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute for Toxicology and Experimental Medicine ITEM have teamed up with colleagues from the Hannover Medical School (MHH) and Griffith University’s Institute for Glycomics (IfG) in Gold Coast, Australia, in the iCAIR (“Fraunhofer International Consortium for Anti-Infective Research”) project. They have set themselves the ambitious goal of closing this gap and developing new anti-infective drugs.

“Even in the 21st century, infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance are a global, potentially deadly threat,” says Prof. Reimund Neugebauer, president of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. “Previously effective antibiotics are becoming less and less effective against multi-resistant bacteria. We urgently need to develop new drugs and find new ways to transfer them from research into clinical trials, and that is why Fraunhofer will be redoubling its efforts in this area.”

Two German and an Australian partner have formed a strategic alliance that has set its sights on closing the existing gap. Fraunhofer ITEM and the MHH in Germany, and the IfG in Australia. As a close-knit research alliance, iCAIR will be working on the development of anti-infective therapies: IfG and MHH will go for identifying and profiling treatment agents, the IfG for identifying, designing and optimizing potential drugs, and Fraunhofer ITEM for preclinical testing of the safety and efficacy of new medications.

The development platform established in the iCAIR project will be made available to external partners in addition to its use in proprietary projects. This is geared towards contract research in the pharmaceutical industry as well as small and medium-sized enterprises and publicly funded projects. In the long term, iCAIR project alliance could lead to a Fraunhofer Project Center and potentially a Fraunhofer Center for new anti-infective drugs.

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Cathrin Nastevska

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