Currently focused on anti-infective treatments against resistant pathogens, our pipeline is expanding to other disease areas with high unmet medical need

Designing novel antibiotics

Antimicrobial-resistant infections are currently responsible for 700,000 deaths around the world annually and the rates of resistance are rising.


In our lead programme, Oxford Drug Design is using state-of-the-art drug design techniques coupled with machine learning to tackle this rising threat. 


We currently have two programmes targeting novel enzymes and mechanisms of action against resistant bacteria. By avoiding pre-existing target classes for which resistance has already arisen, we minimise the speed with which the effectiveness of our compounds could be affected


While our two leading programmes currently are anti-infectives and ways to reduce the development of pathogen resistance, our aaRS competence is a broad platform from which our pipeline is efficiently expanding

Strong platform in aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases

Aminoacyl-tRNA synthetase enzymes (aaRS) play a key role in protein synthesis within all living organisms. 


They are responsible for attaching the cognate amino acid to the appropriate transfer RNA (tRNA) prior to its move to the ribosome and incorporation of the amino acid into the growing protein chain.  They also perform a proof-reading activity to ensure that the correct amino acid has been attached to the tRNA.


Oxford Drug Design has targeted the aaRS enzyme family using a design strategy to minimize emergence of resistance compared to those arising from previous work.


Our extensive expertise in aaRS enzymes is a distinctive core competence of Oxford Drug Design.

Optimised aaRS inhibition

We have discovered multiple novel classes of inhibitors with activity against aaRS enzymes. These demonstrate in vitro and in vivo activity against a range of Gram-negative ESKAPE pathogens, including those identified by WHO and the US CDC as urgent and serious threats to public health.


Our lead program is a developing a novel treatment of urinary tract infections has received grant support from CARB-X and Innovate UK.

Histidine Kinase Targets

Bacterial histidine kinases (HKs) are key components of the primary sensing systems in bacteria. These control factors such as metabolism, nutrient acquisition, virulence and resistance.


The modulation of cellular functions by targeting sensing systems has been widely exploited in human health. However, histidine kinases are an underexplored but promising target class in antibacterial drug discovery, which we are pursuing at Oxford Drug Design. They offer the potential for wide application as antibacterials with low propensity for resistance.


Sponsored by Innovate UK’s UK-China initiative, Oxford Drug Design is leading efforts with scientists in both countries to develop novel treatments.

Pipeline Expansion

The distinctive core competence in aaRS synthetases of Oxford Drug Design constitutes a powerful disease-fighting platform for our business.


Starting from this strong and broad platform, we are transferring our skills and expertise to new drug discovery programs against cancer and additional serious infectious diseases with high unmet need.