A European collaboration progressing Gram-Negative antibiotics from lead optimization up to completion of Phase I trials

Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) is a global and serious threat to human health. Gram-negative bacteria are widely regarded as the culprit representing many of the gravest dangers. Indeed, there is a dearth of new agents able to address AMR in Gram-negative bacteria, especially compounds with novel modes of action. Finding and developing such compounds represents a huge scientific challenge, one that requires the collaboration of stakeholders bringing many different kinds of expertise.

icon_Hands 11

partners throughout Europe

icon_Money € 31 M

funding from IMI, EFPIA

Under the global umbrella of the IMI’s AMR Accelerator, the GNA NOW consortium (Gram-Negative Antibacterials NOW) will work on bringing together key European academic and private experts in antibiotic discovery and development in order to support and manage a portfolio of novel mode of action drugs against Gram-negative bacteria. Ultimately, the goal of GNA NOW is to operate a consortium of experts, representing all the critical skills and experience required to progress potential Gram(-) antibiotics from lead optimisation up to completion of Phase I trials. You can read more about the program on the AMR Accelerator website.

Operational and scientific leadership

As a neutral party with no conflicting interests, Lygature ensures that the agreed pre-set objectives of the consortium are reached within the six-year project term. In the particular complex and dynamic setting of GNA NOW, with multiple compound owners, the multi-consortia AMR Accelerator structure and the ambitious project goals, many of Lygature’s qualities are mobilized, including:

  • Operational coordination. Lygature leverages the vast experiences of managing public-private partnerships, interactions with IMI and stakeholder engagement to provide structure and process guidance.
  • Scientific leadership. As coordinator of the GNA NOW grant, Lygature is co-responsible for strategic decisions regarding resources, scientific output, and progress towards the clinic, including attrition and replacement programmes.
  • Agreement support. Lygature provides support in translation of the project in clear contractual language and well-balanced rights and obligations of all partners. Lygature will monitor the continued adequacy of the agreement and guide, if required, accession of additional programmes.
  • Stakeholder engagement. With the aim to contribute significantly to preclinical antibacterial development in the widest sense, Lygature contributes with best practices and support for capacity and knowledge exchange, funder interactions, and public patient involvement.

GNA NOW contributes to Lygature’s mission of accelerating the development of new treatments with important medical needs and a high societal impact. Lygature provides extensive management capabilities, and expertise as a custodian of trust, to move this multi-stakeholder research project forward.

Lygature together with

Project updates

  • Meeting poster

    GNA NOW: Successful first annual meeting

    Despite the restrictions of Covid-19, the GNA NOW Consortium enjoyed a successful first annual meeting on Wednesday 24 June. Held online, the half-day meeting brought together 29 Consortium members to discuss the results achieved to date and the plans for the upcoming year.

    The meeting got underway with an introduction from new project lead, Eric Bacqué (Evotec). This was followed by presentations from the various work package leads, with time built in for discussion between each presentation. Updates were also given on all of the project drug development platforms, data infrastructure, patient and public involvement, the activities of the Incubator Management Office, and the impacts of the Covid-19 crisis. The meeting ended with an overview of the ongoing communication and dissemination plans.

    Commenting on the meeting, Kristina Orrling, GNA NOW Program Manager at Lygature said: “A year into the project, I'm delighted to see all three programmes progressing well. Thanks to clever teamwork and well-planned mitigation measures, the consortium has handled the Covid-19 situation in an exemplary way. While I missed the informal discussions of a face-to-face meeting, which often spark the really innovative ideas, the online meeting was a success – providing a comprehensive overview of project developments over the last year.”

    Established in July 2019, the GNA NOW Consortium is a European collaboration of 11 partners focused on progressing Gram-Negative antibiotics from lead optimization to the completion of Phase I trials. Working under the AMR Accelerator umbrella, the project is funded by the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) with in-kind contributions from industry partner, Evotec.

  • Efficient data exchange in the battle against antimicrobial resistance

    Efficient data exchange respecting immaterial property and privacy is a requirement. As coordinator of GNA NOW, we’re happy to have such experienced and agile team for this task. 

    To fulfil the requirements of the GNA NOW partners, Fraunhofer, an established academic institute, has chosen to subcontract grit42. This illustrates how IMI-funded projects can provide a stage to innovative start-up companies to tailor-made products and services. In the end, it will not only be beneficial for the research, but also for innovation climate in Europe. 

    Read the full press release here.


  • GNA NOW kicks off its battle against antimicrobial resistance

    In 2015, antibiotic-resistant bacteria were already estimated to be responsible for 670,000 infections and 33,110 attributable deaths in the EU and European Economic Area (EEA). Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) could kill up to ten million people every year by 2050. The development of new antibiotics is of great importance in the fight against AMR. Gram-negative bacteria, which GNA NOW focuses on, were at the top of a priority pathogens list published by the World Health Organization.

    Collectively, the GNA NOW partnership will advance three programmes in parallel with the goal of bringing one through completion of Phase I studies and one reaching Investigational New Drug (IND) stage and/or up to two programmes reaching clinical development candidate stage by 2024.

    GNA NOW is supported by the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI), a joint initiative between the European Commission and the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA), in the form of a €12 million grant over the next six years.

    Lygature plays a pivotal role in amalgamating the partnership, creating one coherent research consortium. As an independent enabler, Lygature focuses entirely on making the collaboration work for the benefit of all partners, ensuring valuable output for the development of new antimicrobial agents. Furthermore, Lygature provides governance in terms of program, finance, collaboration and communication support.

    GNA NOW contributes to Lygature’s mission of accelerating the development of new medical solutions for patients. We are excited to be part of this important project working on new solutions against antimicrobial resistance.

    Read the full press release here (or in German).