Discovery & Exploratory Research

The Discovery and Exploratory Research (DER) programme aims to build a portfolio of new chemical entities with activity against drug-resistant WHO priority Gram-negative bacteria that show no cross-resistance to existing antibiotics and that correspond to the strategic priorities of the GARDP Serious Bacterial Infections programme.


The Discovery and Exploratory Research programme has three interrelated activities:  
  • exploratory research e.g., to identify new and under-exploited targets 
  • hit identification (screening) and optimisation of compounds with antibiotic activity 
  • the development of enabling technology and facility platforms using new science and technological advances 


Teaming up to discover new treatments 

As part of GARDP’s discovery and exploratory research efforts, Japanese pharmaceutical companies Daiichi Sankyo, Eisai and Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited have given GARDP access to their chemical libraries. The compounds were tested by Institut Pasteur Korea, an infectious disease-focused research institute, and have never been screened for antibacterial activity. Now that GARDP has identified four series of hit compounds with antibacterial activity, we are focusing on hit expansion and evaluation. 

GARDP has also tested Calibr’s ReFRAME compound library and a Helmholtz-Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland’s natural products library. Both were tested at the Institut Pasteur Korea. Our work is now evaluating the hit compounds that potentiate the activity of a clinically useful antibiotic adversely affected by drug-resistance. 

Further libraries being tested have been identified by in-silico analysis to identify compounds with the properties associated with drugs that kill Gram-negative bacteria. Through screening these libraries, GARDP is working to identify novel compounds suitable for further optimization and development into new treatments for bacterial infections. 


“Eisai strongly identifies with GARDP’s efforts to discover novel antibiotics to treat drug-resistant infections, which have become a threat to humans. We are pleased to provide our compound library for screening. We hope new medicines will be discovered through this partnership to realize a world in which lives are no longer lost to drug-resistant bacteria.”

– Dr Kappei Tsukahara, Head of Tsukuba Research Laboratories, Eisai 

“The world needs global cooperative action to prevent a post-antibiotic era. This work, instigated by GARDP, is an active response to this urgent global demand that connects Institut Pasteur Korea’s resource with the technology of global pharmaceutical companies.” 

– Dr Wangshick Ryu, CEO of Institut Pasteur Korea