The last new class of antibiotic was discovered in 1984, the end of the ‘golden era’ of antibiotics. From the early 1990s, countless antimicrobial discovery programmes were abandoned. There are multiple reasons for this, including complex science, lack of sufficient return on investment, regulatory issues, and changes in the R&D priorities of the pharmaceutical sector.

There is an urgent need for new antimicrobial treatments to tackle growing drug-resistance. With technological advances and radical changes in the science it may be possible to revive some long-forgotten compounds. Expert knowledge – the know-how and experience to bring these projects back to life – is critical to achieving this.

At the same time, exploratory research with dedicated programmes to support the discovery of novel antimicrobials is a priority need. Efforts are needed across novel discovery, re-purposing of antibiotics, and the development of new agents. There is a particular need to focus on public health priorities.

GARDP’s antimicrobial memory recovery and evaluation, and discovery and exploratory research programmes, aim to help meet these urgent interlinked needs.


Discovery and exploratory research

The aim of the antimicrobial discovery and exploratory programme is to use innovative approaches to identify and validate a portfolio of antimicrobial candidates for future development as sustainable treatment options. Its focus is on bacteria identified in the WHO’s priority pathogen list, in particular on unmet needs that may not be prioritised by the private sector.


Objective, by 2023

  • Two candidates nominated for pre-clinical development to treat serious drug-resistant infections (such as blood stream infections) and a candidate for use against drug-resistant fungal pathogens (such as Candida species)


Antimicrobial memory recovery and evaluation

The aim of this programme is to recover the knowledge, data, and assets of forgotten, or abandoned antibiotics. Reviving those projects means working with the experts who investigated the molecules and training and supporting a new generation of antibiotic discovery researchers and developers.


Objectives, by 2023

  • Recover assets from companies that work or worked in the antibiotic space in order to find drug candidates to meet public health needs.
  • Have up to two recovered new chemical entities in pre-clinical or clinical development (for serious bacterial infections, and priority populations).
  • Recover and disseminate know-how and expertise in antibiotic drug R&D before the knowledge of a generation of experts is lost.


REVIVE logoA central component of the programme is REVIVE. Through an interactive online space, REVIVE has three interconnected aims

  • facilitate learning – including face-to-face workshops at conferences, as well as online open-access webinars, blogs and training materials
  • connect people – including linking new researchers with world-class experts
  • share knowledge, including the development of an ‘antimicrobial toolbox’ which will contain links to online databases of bacterial and fungal strains, whole genome sequences, undeveloped antimicrobials, and pre-clinical and clinical pipelines.

Check out REVIVE

GARDP has engaged more than 120 world-class experts in the programmes, and launched REVIVE in January 2018, including webinars, blogs, and workshops at key conferences. GARDP has also engaged ten companies to share knowledge of their assets, with 20 ‘recovered’ molecules being actively explored. As a result of ongoing evaluation, it is anticipated that up to two additional drug development projects may be initiated in 2019.


More information

Sexually transmitted infections programme snapshot screenshot

A snapshot of the R&D:
Building the GARDP portfolio programme

Screenshot of briefing paper Entasis & GARDP

A snapshot of the REVIVE programme

Scientific articles

Analysis of the clinical antibacterial and antituberculosis pipeline. The Lancet Infectious Diseases, October 2018
by Theuretzbacher U, Gottwalt S, Beyer P, Butler M, Czaplewski L, Lienhardt C, Moja L, Paul M, Paulin S, Rex JH, Silver LL, Spigelman M, Thwaites GE, Paccaud JP, Harbarth S.