Chemistry Journal reporting from ENABLE-2 and the fight against resistent bacteria


The new issue of Swedish magazine Kemisk Tidskrift turns the spotlight on the rising threat posed by bacteria and the researchers leading the search for new weapons to fight antimicrobial resistance. In the five page centerpiece, Professors Anders Karlén and Diarmaid Hughes talk about the ongoing work at antibiotic platform ENABLE-2.

Anders Karlén and Diarmaid Hughes, ENABLE-2
Anders Karlén and Diarmaid Hughes, ENABLE-2

Close to a century after Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin, bacteria once again pose a threat to global public health and in a brand new issue, journal Kemisk tidskrift reports directly from the front in the fight against antimicrobial resistance. Journalist Marie Alpman takes us to a series of selected initiatives leading the search for new antibiotics, with first stop Uppsala Biomedical Center and ENABLE-2: The platform that provides support through the early stages of antibiotic development.

“The economy is the biggest challenge. None of the big pharmaceutical companies see how they can make money from new antibiotics. And unlike the public investments made during the pandemic that was all about a single virus to focus on, this involves many different bacteria with diverse properties that cause many types of infections,” states Diarmaid Hughes, Professor of Medical Molecular Bacteriology, who together with Anders Karlén, Professor of Computer-Aided Drug Design, coordinates the work in ENABLE-2.

Anders Karlén and Diarmaid HughesThe platform, whose services arouse great interest among researchers in both academia and industry, initially accepted assignments from Swedish universities and biotech companies. In 2023, the window was opened towards Europe, and today the portfolio contains projects based in the Netherlands, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Germany. So far, a total of six highly promising ventures have received support at ENABLE-2, and Kemisk Tidskrift has visited Umeå and QureTech Bio AB, where Fredrik Almqvist, Professor of Chemistry at the city's university, is developing a new chemical structure that kills gram-positive bacteria.

“Our dream is to further develop the basic structure against infection types that are common within healthcare,” says Fredrik Almqvist to Kemisk tidskrift, and also tell us about the discovery that led the research group on the right track and early laboratory work in order to increase the effect of the molecules.

In 2023, ENABLE-2 also held its first Annual Meeting with 40 participants from seven countries visiting Uppsala to discuss antibiotic discovery and the future development of the platform’s portfolio of programmes.

"At the meeting, a decision was made to go from a model of individually announced Open Calls to a model of continuously accepting new applications to join ENABLE-2. By reaching out to academic groups throughout Europe we hope to ensure that we continue to attract the highest quality of applications for evaluation by our expert Portfolio Management Committee," states Anders Karlén from the laboratory at Uppsala University's Department of Medicinal Chemistry.


  • ENABLE-2 is a platform that offers project support in the development of antibacterial drugs.
  • ENABLE-2 is coordinated at the Faculty of Pharmacy, Uppsala University.
  • Kemisk tidskrift is published by the Swedish Chemical Society with 4 issues per year. It first appeared in 1887.



Anders Karlén, ProfessorAnders Karlén, Professor
Coordinator, ENABLE-2

 Text: Magnus Alsne, photo: Mikael Wallerstedt

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Last modified: 2024-04-04