Novel Antibiotics

Das Bakterium E. terrae produziert ein neuartiges Antibiotikum, das gegen ein breites Spektrum von Krankheitserregern wirkt.© William Fowley, Northeastern University, USA

Antibiotics have improved the life expectancy of mankind. However, multi-drug resistance has become commonplace in pathogenic bacteria and our "magic bullets" are losing their efficacy. Current medical standards in infectious disease management, intensive care and transplantation medicine rely heavily on efficacious classical anti-infective chemotherapeutics, yet the antibacterial development pipeline is drying up and the number of innovative drugs reaching the market is dwindling rapidly. In spite of the strong medical need, the economic viability of antibiotic R&D programs is being questioned and the interest of the private sector is waning. R&D is increasingly dependent on the biotech sector which, due to financial limitations, focuses on single small-scale and short-term projects. The absence of strong industrial commitments reflects back onto the academic sector and provides little incentive for either researchers or institutions to invest in translational activities. The mission of the research field "Novel Antibiotics" is to bridge the gap between basic research and current anti-infective development activities.

Research Areas

  • Novel leads and new molecular targets for effective treatment and control of resistant microbes
  • Identification and development of drug candidates for direct antibiotic intervention
  • Drug candidates for new strategies based on natural innate host defence mechanisms


Participating Focus Sites



Interview with Hans-Georg Sahl, TTU "Novel Anti-Infectives" [in German]

Rolf Müller, Helmholtz Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland/HZI

Hans-Georg Sahl, University of Bonn
Wolfgang Wohlleben, University of Tübingen

Project manager
Claudia Wagner

Marcus Miethke