Fighting antibiotics resistance with novel natural ingredients

Sanofi and Fraunhofer develops new natural products to fight antibiotics resistance

Infectious diseases, the second leading cause of death worldwide with 10 million fatalities registered in 2011, are increasingly developing resistance to antibiotics. A rising number of infections worldwide are caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria, while in parallel, the number of effective antibiotics is falling steadily, little progress has been made in discovering and developing new antibiotics for many years.

In our increasingly interconnected world, pathogens spread quickly and across borders, posing a growing threat to global health and prosperity. In the industrialized world for example, the management of the 17 million severe bacterial infections treated annually in the hospitals is already a major issue. Whereas in the developing world, resistance to conventional treatment for tuberculosis, one of the most widespread infectious diseases in the world with 9 million new cases in 2013, have begun to appear. Therefore it is crucial to stop the progression of resistance worldwide and to develop new treatments when needed.


A key concern for policymakers worldwide



AAngela Merkel opens new Sanofi production line in Frankfurts such, antibiotic resistance is a major concern for public bodies and policymakers around the world, and was one of the topics on the agenda at the recent G7 Summit, held in Germany on June 7-8.

Ahead of this important event, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the summit’s host, visited Sanofi’s R&D, manufacturing and office facilities in Frankfurt, where she opened a new production line.

The occasion was also the opportunity for Chancellor Merkel to talk with Sanofi’s leading experts about the current status of antibiotics research and ways of gathering ideas for encouraging and fostering additional antibiotics research initiatives.

Sanofi is a major anti-infective drug provider and has a strong R&D commitment for finding new ways to treat bacterial infections, including access to novel natural products, which are the source of more than 80% of all marketed antibiotics.


Finding solutions in novel natural products


Over the past 30 years, 34% of the 1,073 small molecules (vaccines and biological products not included) that have been marketed worldwide have come from substances found in nature. Sanofi has put speeding up research into new antibiotics, especially those derived from natural sources, at the heart of its strategy.

At the beginning of 2014, Sanofi and the Fraunhofer Society, which specializes in molecular biology and applied ecology research, established a Natural Product Center of Excellence, where scientists from Sanofi and Fraunhofer work in shared laboratories. Their goal is to identify novel active chemical or biological compounds and accelerate the discovery and development of new antibiotics in order to treat severe infectious diseases.

antimicrobial resiatnce and natural productsA central area of their research is to combat so-called “gram-negative” bacteria like E. coli and Klebsiella pneumoniae, but which represent an increasing threat due to growing resistance.

As part of this initiative, Sanofi is sharing access to its strain collection, one of the world’s largest containing more 130,000 micro-organisms, with Fraunhofer, as well as its expertise into anti-infective research.

It is urgent to identify new microbiological strategies in order to effectively combat infectious diseases, and partnerships such as these play a key role in helping to fight one of the biggest health challenges of our times.



*More info Sanofi : Biodiversity and Biopiracy Factsheet – May 2015

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