Published: 22-11-2023 13:02 | Updated: 22-11-2023 13:02

The Federico Iovino group and Therakind initiate an antimicrobial resistance collaboration

Image: Pixabay
Image: Pixabay

The Federico Iovino group at Karolinska Institutet, and Therakind are initiating an exciting collaboration involving the identification of innate molecules with antimicrobial activity against antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections, with particular interest for brain infections considering the poor capability of current antibiotics to cross the blood-brain barrier.

Portrait taken in 2022 at the Encephalitis Society meeting in London
Federico Iovino, Associate Professor and group leader at the Department of Neuroscience. Photo: Encephalitis Society

Bacteria’s unique ability to adapt to their environment has led to the global problem of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). AMR occurs when pathogens, such as bacteria, evolve ways to survive existing treatments, making infections increasingly difficult to treat, causing serious illness and death. It is predicted that by 2050, the deaths attributed to antimicrobial-resistant infections will reach approximately ten million per year, exceeding any other major death-causing disease occurring today, such as cancer. It is therefore fundamental to identify and develop therapies that can target multidrug-resistant infections.

Federico Iovino, associate professor and group leader at the Department of Neuroscience at Karolinska Institutet, is an expert on clinical and molecular bacteriology, with a specific focus on brain bacterial infections.

Portrait of PhD student in the Iovino Laboratory, in Biomedicum, with the atrium as a backdrop
Simona Serra. PhD student at the Department of Neuroscience.

The research group investigates the molecular mechanisms regulating bacterial interaction with brain cells during bacterial meningoencephalitis pathogenesis. Dr. Iovino will be supported in the laboratory work by the PhD student Simona Serra.

Therakind, a pharmaceutical company based in London (UK), is focused on developing niche medicines in difficult-to-treat patient groups including children, the elderly and those suffering from chronic illness. Children and the elderly are two population groups with a higher risk for infections due to their non-fully developed or weaker, respectively, immune systems.

"I am beyond excited to start this collaboration with Therakind. Thanks to their support we can really bring our laboratory-based discoveries into real therapies to help society fight antibiotic resistance, one of the major burdens in Global Health", says Federico Iovino.

“We look forward to working with Federico and building on the promising preliminary data already generated. Therakind’s proven success in taking drugs to approval and experience in running antimicrobial clinical trials will assist in driving this AMR programme forward", says Dr Susan Conroy, CEO of Therakind.

“AMR is a major global challenge, and we are delighted to be working in this much needed area", says Louise Rawcliffe, Therakind’s Regulatory Affairs Director.