Top Sector Life Sciences & Health (LSH) entails a broad scope of disciplines, from pharmaceuticals to medical technology and from healthcare infrastructure to vaccination. To realise its mission – vital citizens in a healthy economy - the Top Sector builds on the strengths of the Dutch LSH sector to address the biggest societal challenges in prevention, cure and care. By funding multidisciplinary public-private partnerships (PPPs) the Top Sector aims to facilitate innovation. Here we give an overview of  a number of funded R&D projects by Top Sector LSH. The page is updated continuously.

Immunomodulatory peptides as novel anti-infectives

Immunomodulatory peptides as novel anti-infectives

This project focusses on a promising new class of antimicrobial agents called host defence peptides (HDPs). In recent years, the Molecular Host Defence Division from UU-faculty of veterinary medicine and Zoetis, a leader in the field of animal health, have successfully worked together on HDPs and are continuing to do so in this project.

Antibiotic resistance is a growing problem worldwide, leading to approximately 25,000 deaths yearly in the EU alone. Currently, few novel antibiotics are under development and most of these are modifications of existing drug classes and are considered short time solutions. Therefore, there is an urgent need for alternative therapies to be able to fight bacterial infections in animals and humans.

HDPs are molecules that are produced by animals and humans as an important factor of their own innate immune system. HDPs can kill micro-organisms directly but can also do this indirectly by modulating/stimulating the host’s (innate) immune system. Unravelling the mode of action of these HDPs is an important step towards the development of novel anti-infectives.

A rational step-by-step approach will be used to further sort out the immunomodulatory mechanisms of action of HDPs in veterinary relevant species and to identify biomarkers of immunomodulatory functions. In addition, the consortium partners wish to extend their knowledge about structure-function relationships with respect to the different activities of the peptides. Continuation of the public-private partnership of Molecular Host Defence Division from UU-faculty of veterinary medicine with Zoetis will expedite the valorisation and implementation of HDP-based products for prophylactic and therapeutic use in veterinary medicine.