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Biosynthetic Engineering of Antibacterial Natural Products


, : Biosynthetic Engineering of Antibacterial Natural Products.

Since the discovery of penicillin, the development of anti-infective drugs has been a central theme in the pharmaceutical industry through much of the 2th century. However, the pace of developing new anti-infective agents has precipitously declined in the past two decades. The main reason for this change is an economic one - whereas the technical and regulatory risks associated with the development of a new broad-spectrum antibiotic are deemed unacceptably high, the financial returns derived from a targeted (narrow-spectrum) antibiotic are unattractive to the pharmaceutical industry. Meanwhile, the need for new anti-infective agents continues to be as urgent as ever. New business models are called for, ones that are grounded in the possibilities and realities of 21st century technologies for antibiotic discovery and development. This chapter discusses, using four selected examples, the opportunities for harnessing modern biosynthetic insights and engineering methods to discover new antibiotics.

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