From the beginning, DEINOVE has sought to explore the healthcare possibilities provided by Deinococci.
These bacteria, rarely studied so far, naturally produce antibiotics and antifungals, some of which are true breakthroughs.
In 2009, DEINOVE launched an exploratory research program in order to validate the antibacterial potential of its strain library, with support from OSEO, the Languedoc-Roussillon Region and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). Called DEINOBIOTICS, this program led to the identification of 12 bacterial strains with antibiotic activity. DEINOVE then created DEINOBIOTICS SAS, a subsidiary (now 100% held by DEINOVE) that is fully dedicated to research and development on antibiotics and antifungals, with a team of experts including one of the best French specialists in antimicrobial research and development: Dr Dominique LE BELLER.
DEINOVE responds to the World Health Organization’s appeal
Antibiotic resistance may lead to 10 million deaths a year by 2050, more than cancers today (8 million a year). Some patients, notably with pneumonia, tuberculosis or gonorrhea, have already run into a therapeutic “dead-end” due to the loss of effectiveness of several classes of antibiotics.
The United Nations launched a solemn appeal on 21 September 2016, signed by 193 countries, to call attention to antibiotic resistance. The objectives are to reduce consumption, perfect the use of our current antibiotic assets and, of course, exploit new sources of antibiotics to supplement the existing therapeutic arsenal.
Progress on the program
The research program on new antibiotics is handled by the DEINOBIOTICS subsidiary created in 2012. To date, several tens of strains from the DEINOVE library have been identified as having antibiotic activity.
For each strain, the next step consists in isolating the antibiotic molecule and characterizing its chemical structure. DEINOBIOTICS’ goal is to discover antibiotics with original chemical structures in order to propose new drug classes that are potentially able to destroy bacteria that are resistant to the antibiotics currently available.
Several molecules are currently being studied and a first drug candidate has been selected. It shows an original chemical structure and a particularly interesting activity. It is currently undergoing advanced preclinical research including in vivo effectiveness tests for several indications, as well as pharmacological tests.
The DEINOBIOTICS team is also pursuing its research on the other compounds identified to produce new leads. With the functional screening of DEINOVE’s library (Deinoscreen), new strains are also being assessed.
Synergistic activities between DEINOVE and DEINOBIOTICS
DEINOVE, which has made the healthcare a priority field of application, has set up a state-of-the-art technological platform and has resources, equipment and know-how in genetic, metabolic and fermentation engineering that it applies to the antibiotic program. Given the synergy between its activities, the program has been expanded and sped up at the laboratories in Montpellier and Lille, while DEINOVE has made DEINOBIOTICS a 100%-owned subsidiary as announced at the presentation of its 2016 first half financial results.
Dominique LE BELLER was one of the founders of Novexel in 2004. He directed projects, operations and human resources at this start-up specialized in the development of anti-infective agents until it was bought by Astra Zeneca for nearly $500 million in 2010.
Previously, Dominique LE BELLER was in charge of biochemistry at the “infectious disease” unit at Aventis for 8 years and, before that, at Hoechst-Marion-Roussel for 10 years, first in the Department of Biotechnology and then in the Department of Anti-Infectives, where he implemented a program dedicated to finding new targets for antibiotic discovery and built a network of academic excellence.
Dominique LE BELLER has formed new strategic alliances in the field of antifungals and contributed to the development of 3 antibiotics: Ketek®, NXL 201 and NXL 104. With the Institut Pasteur, he also played an active role in the creation and implementation of the "Infectology" subject at the Pole MEDICEN, and launched the first "chemical library" project.
Dominique LE BELLER is a Biological Engineer with a Doctorate in Microbiology, Bioconversions and Enzymology from the Université de Technologie de Compiègne.
DEINOBIOTICS is a member of the BEAM ALLIANCE