Sanofi to scour natural world for new antibiotics

LONDON Wed Jan 15, 2014 1:00am EST

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LONDON Jan 15 (Reuters) - French drugmaker Sanofi is teaming up with a German research centre to find new antibiotics in the natural world, highlighting a re-emerging interest in infectious diseases among certain pharmaceutical companies.

Sanofi said on Wednesday it had signed an agreement with Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft to identify naturally occurring chemical or biological compounds that could be used as medicines to fight infections.

Penicillin is one example of an antibiotic derived from a natural product. But in recent years the flow of new antibiotics has slowed and the number of resistant "superbugs" has increased, raising fears about the future drug supply.

Although the new natural products "centre of excellence" being created by the two partners will focus primarily on infectious diseases, Sanofi said its work might also extend to other diseases such as diabetes, pain and rare diseases.

The company gave no financial details about the collaboration. (Reporting by Ben Hirschler; Editing by Anthony Barker)

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