Wound healing collaboration awarded £50,000

A Welsh Wound Innovation Centre (WWIC) collaboration with Neem Biotech and Sheffield Collaboratorium for Antimicrobial Resistance and Biofilms (SCARAB) has been awarded a £50,000 National Biofilms Innovation Centre (NBIC) Proof of Concept grant.

Cardiff University reports the inaugural grant has been awarded to expand the development and testing of effective anti-biofilm interventions, based on the pioneering research conducted by Neem Biotech.

Biofilms are formed by many bacteria as a protective mechanism for colonies of bacteria in a range of metabolic states. In humans, biofilms protect bacteria from the human immune system and antibiotics and also exude virulence factors which allow the colonies of bacteria to invade local tissues and spread infection. Products that inhibit the spread of infection in biofilms are called quorum sensing inhibitors.

The collaboration will expand data on the biological activity of Neem’s candidate compounds for managing bacterial infections in wounds. The research is aimed at advancing rational drug design and accelerating translation of basic research into the clinic.

Working in partnership with Cardiff University, WWIC builds on the work of the Welsh Healing Research Unit (WHRU) and is the flagship facility for clinical innovation in Wales.

Professor Keith Harding, Clinical Professor at Cardiff University’s School of Medicine, said “Wound infection remains a costly, growing and difficult condition to treat effectively. This collaboration has great potential for understanding the origins of such infections and thereby laying the foundation for improved treatment of these wounds which, if untreated, become a serious clinical problem.”

Graham Dixon, CEO of Neem Biotech, said “This grant will enable us to discover additional vital information on Neem’s clinical candidates that target painful local wound infection which inhibit wound healing. It will also expand our knowledge on Neem’s unique class of Quorum Sensing Inhibitors which could have great potential in a new generation of Non-traditional antibiotics. This inaugural Proof of Concept initiative, made possible by the National Biofilms Innovation Centre, could accelerate access for patients to potentially ground-breaking bacterial infection management through pioneering science.”

Dr Esther Karunakaran from SCARAB said “New compounds that can inhibit quorum sensing and thus prevent or reduce biofilm formation and spread of infection have a vital role to play in our efforts to design practical strategies to overcome antimicrobial resistance. Current use of antibiotics can generate antimicrobial resistance and quorum sensing inhibitors could be a practical strategy to combine with antibiotics for some infections. Together with our colleagues at Neem Biotech and the Welsh Wound Innovation Centre, we believe we have all the elements in place to deliver success on this important quest.”

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