Press Release

A long-standing collaboration with Institut Pasteur Lille, Institut Pasteur Korea helps identifying compounds boosting TB drugs and reverting resistance

- The collaboration team discovers a drug candidate able to revert antibiotic resistance to ethionamide in Mycobacterium tuberculosis
- The related paper is published in Science magazine on 17 Mar, 2017

Pangyo, Gyeonggi, 17 Mar, 2017 | Institut Pasteur Korea announces that Dr. Vincent Delorme, Group leader of Tuberculosis Research Laboratory, has participated in collaboration with Institut Pasteur Lille in a seminal work that has appeared in Science on 17 March. The study describes a new drug candidate boosting the activity of ethionamide, a second line drug for the treatment of TB, as well as reverting antibiotic resistance for this antibiotic in Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

It is the first compound with such properties ever discovered for tuberculosis, opening the way to similar strategies that restore the efficacy of clinical drugs against resistant bacteria using so-called “Small Molecule Aborting Resistance” (SMARt). The new compound will help treat multidrug-resistant (MDR) and extensively drug-resistant (XDR) Mycobacterium tuberculosis infections.

The collaboration between IP Lille and IP Korea started in 2009, and after years of iterative research, the team discovered a drug candidate able to activate a redundant but hidden bio-activation pathway for ethionamide. With this research strategy, Dr. Delorme’s team is collaborating with IP Lille to screen for more molecules that share similar properties. “Despite years of research into Mycobacterium tuberculosis’s biology, the bacteria hasn’t revealed all its secrets. With this research, we expect to discover and characterize more cryptic pathways, thus take a new step forward in fighting antibiotic resistance in TB.”


Since beginning of IP Korea, the Tuberculosis Research Laboratory has conducted research on Mycobacterium tuberculosis and has had success in identifying promising new compounds. In 2010 the team discovered Q203, a TB drug candidate that was licensed out to Qurient and is heading for clinical Phase 2. In 2013, the team published research results indicating that Q203 was highly effective against both MDR and XDR Mycobacterium tuberculosis in Nature Medicine.

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About Institut Pasteur Korea
Institut Pasteur Korea (IPK) is an international research institute focused on addressing global health issues with a combination of cutting edge approaches in order to understand disease mechanisms and develop new treatments. By promoting multi-disciplinary projects, IPK is at the forefront of drug discovery and an economic growth engine that contributes to Korea's scientific intellectual and technical resources. IPK has four core missions of public interest; 1) Research, combining front line biology, IT, and chemistry, with innovative cell-based drug discovery platforms that identify novel molecular targets for potential new therapies to treat diseases, 2) Education, offering a wide range of programming to nurture the development of the next generation of scientists and health professionals, 3) Public Health, working in collaboration with national and international health authorities, and 4) Translation of biomedical discoveries to improve health via technology transfer and industrial partnerships.
IPK is a member of the Institut Pasteur International Network (Network). As a hub institution, IPK plays a key role in the Network, serving as a bridge between Korea and global bio-pharma science, expanding Korea's R&D base collaborative research projects with global alliances
The institute was established in April 2004 in collaboration with Institut Pasteur Paris and the Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST), with support from the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning (MSIP). IPK also has a great supporter in the Gyeonggi Provincial government (2005 – 2015 : Block funding | 2016 – Present : drug discovery co-resarch fund for pharm industries).