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26.05.2017 09:20

Antibiotic research

The Granada Health Science Technological Park (PTS) is now home to the largest collection of microbial cultures for research purposes in the world, thanks to a donation by biopharmaceutical company Merck Sharp & Dohme (MSD). The newly enlarged collection, housed in the MEDINA Foundation's Andalusian Centre of Excellence for Research into Innovative Medicines, will enable new lines of research aiming to create innovative medicines and combat antibiotic resistance.

Microbial cultures in the MEDINA Foundation laboratories.

The donated cultures have been described as “of enormous added value for research in Andalusia”, as they strengthen MEDINA's standing as a globally recognised centre of excellence dedicated to discovering innovative compounds and therapies to treat infectious, parasitic and rare diseases. An event marking the donation was attended by Andalusia's Regional Minister of Finance and Knowledge, Antonio Ramírez de Arellano, and Regional Minister of Health, Aquilino Alonso, the vice-chancellor of the University of Granada, Pilar Aranda, and the President and General Manager of MSD in Spain and Portugal, Ángel Fernández.

The donated MSD collection consists of more than 74,000 microbial cultures (fungi and bacteria) from a wide range of ecosystems in different geographical areas. MEDINA's collection now comprises 190,000 cultures, making it larger than all the public collections in Brazil combined, or more than half as large as all the public collections in the United States combined.

The donated microbial cultures have a very high market value and are of great interest for the biopharmaceutical industry, increasing the likelihood of new molecules being discovered. The cultures alone are worth almost 700,000 dollars, excluding transport costs, so this donation is a significant boost for research in this field in Spain, and in Andalusia in particular.

Developing new antibiotics is now one of the greatest challenges facing modern medicine. Health organisations around the world are concerned about antimicrobial resistance. Microbial cultures are the cornerstone of the development of new antibiotic drugs, so this donation could potentially lead to the development of new antibiotics for people all over the world.