The magic of mushrooms

Long-term collaborations to advance antibiotic development


Fungi are one of the world’s primary organisms and have vital medicinal properties, which pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline was keen to exploit. 


The mushrooms’ true potential was fully realised when scientists at the University of Bristol created the Basidio Molecular Toolkit – a new technique to analyse and manipulate the gene expression of Basidiomycota.

GSK entered a 12-year collaboration on the back of the toolkit development. From 2005 Professor Gary Foster and Dr Andy Bailey helped GSK investigate the genomic potential of an organism that produces a natural antibiotic.


Not only did the toolkit greatly advance the search for new antibiotics; it saved GSK considerable costly R&D time that would otherwise have been spent on more labour intensive investigations.

GSK subsequently used the molecular toolkit to help validate another antibiotic, Altargo/Altabax, which was approved for use in the EU in 2007.

Read the magic of mushrooms case study.

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