The ENABLE project has achieved its initial goals to identify three antibacterial leads, select two antibacterial development candidates and advance one compound into Phase I development.

The IMI project was recently granted a one-year extension to promote further progression of ongoing programmes, while keeping within the original budget of about €100m. ENABLE was formed in 2014 to accelerate the development of new antibiotics for the treatment of difficult-to-treat Gram-negative  infections. The project has so far identified five antibacterial leads.

“This achievement is an immense success”, said Anders Karlén, leader of ENABLE Managing Entity and professor at Uppsala University. “Antimicrobial resistance is a major threat to public health worldwide, and we urgently need new antibiotics. The success of ENABLE show that by bringing together diverse stakeholders, it is possible to deliver results in what is a very challenging area”, said Dr Pierre Meulien, Executive Director, Innovative Medicines Initiative.

ENABLE currently has ten active programmes, six thereof in Hit to Lead stage, two in Lead to Candidate stadium, and one in Candidate to Phase I as well as one in Phase I dose escalation trials. Juvabis’ clinical candidate apramycin is an aminoglycoside antibiotic which has demonstrated promising efficacy against multidrug-resistant bacteria. First results are expected in 2020.

“With its different platforms and well-functioning expert bodies, ENABLE has created a unique ecosystem that has proven effective in bringing promising compounds forward. Further, ENABLE has educated a generation of scientists in academia and SMEs in the scientific, commercial and regulatory realities of antibiotic discovery and development. The one year extension is welcomed by the programmes, but it provides only limited financial relief and security”, said Frederik Deroose, chair of the Portfolio Management Committee, the decisionmaking expert committee in ENABLE. Although the ENABLE project will end in January 2021, it could well serve as a partnership model for future collaborations between academia and industry.

ENABLE is part of the IMI’s outgoing ND4BB programme, which will be advanced through the AMR accelerator.

The new annual report of the AMR industry alliance reports an 2018 investment of US$1.6bn into AMR-relevant products but says it wasn’t enough to “drive a sustainable and erobutst R&D ecosystem for antibiotics. Current bankrupties and big pharma exits in the field together with new reimbursement pilots will be discussed in March at the AMR conference in Basel.