GARDP and Google DeepMind collaborate to accelerate target assessment

12 March 2024

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is the ability of microorganisms, such as bacteria, to resist medicines like antibiotics. AMR is an escalating global health crisis that is already one of the biggest global killers. Increasingly, once easily treatable infections are becoming untreatable. Countering this threat requires new antibiotics that work against multidrug-resistant bacterial infections. However, developing antibiotics is complex, time-consuming and costly. Researchers must identify vulnerabilities within the most dangerous bacteria, then find molecules that interfere with critical functions, ultimately killing the bacteria.


GARDP and Google DeepMind have been working together on advanced modelling and analysis of several proteins identified as promising but unrealised targets for new antibiotics. These proteins are promising because they are important to certain bacteria, which the World Health Organization says critically require new treatments. If we identify a molecule that interferes with these proteins’ functions, it might become a powerful new antibiotic for the most dangerous multidrug-resistant bacteria.


The collaboration has enhanced GARDP’s understanding of the proteins and accelerated the timeline for assessing them as possible drug targets, bringing  us closer to developing new antibiotics. Furthermore, the work should enable GARDP to make greater use of AI technologies such as AlphaFold2. Google DeepMind provided analyses of the AlphaFold2-derived models, which can support future structure-based drug discovery efforts. It also produced a manual, enabling similar analyses of other proteins of interest.  Google DeepMind and GARDP are now exploring potential future collaborations.

“Our collaboration with Google DeepMind has revealed valuable new insights, enabling us to better prioritise our target proteins. It has also accelerated our assessment, saving us several years of experimental structural biology. As a result, we are closer to the next phase of our project - in which we will identify small molecules that could form the basis of new and effective antibiotics.”

– Laura Piddock, Scientific Director GARDP

“Antimicrobial resistance is a rapidly emerging global health crisis. The work of organisations like GARDP is vital in helping humanity tackle this threat, and we're pleased to see that our collaboration with them - which has assisted them in applying our breakthrough AI model AlphaFold2 - is accelerating the team’s path to developing much needed new antibiotics for all.”

– Agata Laydon, Life Sciences Lead, Google DeepMind Institute