Indexed on: 16 Nov '10Published on: 16 Nov '10Published in: Future microbiology
During the last decade the field of antibacterial drug discovery has changed in many aspects including bacterial organisms of primary interest, discovery strategies applied and pharmaceutical companies involved. Target-based high-throughput screening had been disappointingly unsuccessful for antibiotic research. Understanding of this lack of success has increased substantially and the lessons learned refer to characteristics of targets, screening libraries and screening strategies. The 'genomics' approach was replaced by a diverse array of discovery strategies, for example, searching for new natural product leads among previously abandoned compounds or new microbial sources, screening for synthetic inhibitors by targeted approaches including structure-based design and analyses of focused libraries and designing resistance-breaking properties into antibiotics of established classes. Furthermore, alternative treatment options are being pursued including anti-virulence strategies and immunotherapeutic approaches. This article summarizes the lessons learned from the genomics era and describes discovery strategies resulting from that knowledge.