Professor Matthew Cooper and Dr Mark Butler have received the prestigious JA Medal for a review the pair authored titled ‘Antibiotics in the Clinical Pipeline in 2011’.

Awarded by The Journal of Antibiotics, the accolade is presented annually to two articles published in the journal over the previous 24 months.

Professor Cooper and Dr Butler’s paper provides a comprehensive overview on antibiotics in various stages of clinical trials. The researchers describe the recent history of antibiotics brought to market since 2000, the drug discovery process, and discuss the dire clinical need for new antibiotic drugs.

Since publishing this article in 2011 not a great deal has changed across the antibiotic resistance landscape.

There continues to be an increasing interest in the area of antibiotic discovery and a growing realisation there is a problem.

“The Centers for Disease Control in America has released an ‘Antibiotic Resistance Threats’ report,” Dr Butler said.

“The World Health Organisation has made combating antimicrobial resistance a global priority, yet to date the Australian government has not made this issue a high priority.

There has been no progress towards developing new antibiotics that effect gram-negative bacteria. This is currently a focus in the Cooper group.

“However there have been new discoveries towards developing new antibiotics that effect gram-positive bacteria.”

The regulatory debate about how antibiotics are developed is changing all the time and has received considerable media attention.

“A huge barrier to antibiotic discovery is the fact that it’s not economically viable for large pharmaceutical companies to develop new drugs.”

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