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SIGNIA: An innovative drug discovery platform for rapid identification and validation of antimicrobial applications in available pharmaceutical resources and drugs open for repurposing.


The economic and social burden of infections is being enhanced by the emergence of drug-resistant pathogens. This phenomenon is outpacing the industry’s capacity for drug discovery and development. Antimicrobial resistance is costing the EU today €1.5 billion and 25,000 deaths annually. Developing de novo classical drugs is very costly and time consuming, and for every new drug released a resistant strain has rapidly emerged. This paradigm is hindering our ability to respond to outbreaks. Among causative organisms, viruses pose a major threat, being responsible for the outbreaks impacting the world in the past decade (SARS, Influenza A, MERS, etc). Although some antivirals have been developed for them, they lose their efficacy rapidly due to the high mutation rate of viruses, which alters the antigenic features originally used to develop the drug. Thus, there is an urgent need for novel discovery methods that allow to accelerate the development of broad-spectrum and mutability-independent antimicrobials. In response, Signia Therapeutics has developed and validated a drug discovery platform for fast identification of compounds with antimicrobial activity. Instead of selecting drugs that target pathogen determinants, it selects drugs that target determinants of the infected cell. This method offers key advantages: i) avoids the impact of microbe intrinsic mutability; ii) broad spectrum drugs can be identified. Since the platform seeks for antimicrobial applications among drugs already commercialized (repurposing) and among pharma libraries (recycling), drug discovery becomes faster, safer and cost-efficient. Having reached the functional stage (TRL6), this project encloses the roadmap to finalise the platform’s development and its preparation for market. Once completed, this project will have huge impacts for society (better management of infections and preparedness against outbreaks), and for our company (expected ROI of €2.1 from this project after 5 years).

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L'atrium 43 Boulevard Du 11 Novembre 1918
69100 Villeurbanne
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
EU contribution
€ 50 000