Launched in September, the Shared Platform for Antibiotic Research and Knowledge (SPARK) aims to help spur basic scientific research to overcome barriers preventing the development of novel antibiotics. Novartis’ decision to donate the data from its discontinued antimicrobial research follows a similar commitment by Achaogen in October 2018.
In mid-2018, Novartis had announced its departure from antibacterial and antiviral research.
With regard to SPARK, Novartis shared data from its LpxA, LpxD, and LpxK antibacterial programs that explored new ways to attack Gram-negative bacteria, a class of pathogens that includes some of the most dangerous superbugs because of their tough defense mechanisms. These research programs were discontinued earlier this year.
The SPARK platform is part of Pew’s ongoing work to advance the goals set forth in its Scientific Roadmap for Antibiotic Discovery, bringing together chemical and biological data from published studies and previously unpublished work, such as the Novartis data, on a user-friendly, cloud-based platform. Open to researchers from all sectors—industry, academia, government, and nonprofit—SPARK enables scientists to share information, learn from past research, and generate new insights.