Skip to main content

(Some) current concepts in antibacterial drug discovery


The rise of multidrug resistance in bacteria rendering pathogens unresponsive to many clinical drugs is widely acknowledged and considered a critical global healthcare issue. There is broad consensus that novel antibacterial chemotherapeutic options are extremely urgently needed. However, the development pipeline of new antibacterial drug lead structures is poorly filled and not commensurate with the scale of the problem since the pharmaceutical industry has shown reduced interest in antibiotic development in the past decades due to high economic risks and low profit expectations. Therefore, academic research institutions have a special responsibility in finding novel treatment options for the future. In this mini review, we want to provide a broad overview of the different approaches and concepts that are currently pursued in this research field.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4


Download references


Work in the Kalscheuer laboratory related to this topic is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) research training group GRK 2158, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research BMBF (16GW0109), and the Juergen Manchot Foundation (MOI III Graduate School).

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Rainer Kalscheuer.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

van Geelen, L., Meier, D., Rehberg, N. et al. (Some) current concepts in antibacterial drug discovery. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 102, 2949–2963 (2018).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Revised:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


  • Antibiotic
  • Pathogen
  • Endophyte
  • Myxobacteria
  • Marine invertebrate
  • Drug conjugate