ETH Zurich Foundation, SpheroBiotics


Steven Schmitt & Irene Wüthrich

Re-inventing antibiotic discovery from nature

The resistance of bacterial pathogens to commonly prescribed antibiotics is increasing worldwide and an urgent threat to human health. SpheroBiotics set out to fight against antimicrobial resistance by discovering novel antibiotic compounds.

Tapping the largely unharnessed potential of nature’s microbial communities, SpheroBiotics devised a technology platform that is based on small hydrogel microspheres and re-invents classical antibiotic discovery: First, it allows for the cultivation of microbes directly in their natural environment and grants SpheroBiotics access to microbial strains and their antibiotics that were so far out of reach for classical antibiotic discovery in the laboratory. Second, the technology enables the analysis of millions of microbes for their antibiotic production within a day and thus detects even rare microbial producers. Smart, microsphere-embedded biosensors furthermore enable the fast identification of promising molecules.

More on SpheroBiotics in the ETH news and on their website.