Alice Erwin is an independent scientific consultant, providing advice on antibiotic discovery to academic and industrial research groups. She also conducts due-diligence evaluation of antibacterial programmes being evaluated as in-licensing or investing opportunities.
Alice is an infectious disease microbiologist with experience in both academic and industrial settings. Her scientific research over the past thirty years has revolved around the structure and function of bacterial membranes, with particular interest in the contribution of lipopolysaccharides to both the pathogenesis and the intrinsic antibiotic resistance of Gram-negative bacteria. She held senior positions in programmes at PathoGenesis Corporation, Chiron Corporation, and Vertex Pharmaceuticals – seeking to discover drugs for treatment of Gram-negative and Gram-positive infections and for tuberculosis.
Alice’s expertise includes all stages of drug discovery, from the development of an overall strategy through target selection, screening and hit evaluation to discovery and optimization of a lead chemical series.
As an independent scientific consultant, she now uses her experience to advise on both the technical and strategic aspects of antibacterial drug discovery. A key component of her skill as a consultant is the insight she has gained as a reviewer of drug-discovery grant proposals in over twenty-five National Institute of Health study sections. She has a clear understanding of the difficulties faced by academic and small-business groups seeking to translate their research into drugs that will fill an unmet medical need.
Alice has written over 30 peer-reviewed papers and 10 reviews or book chapters. She is also a named inventor on two patents, including the University of Washington/Chiron’s (now Novartis) patent describing the first LpxC inhibitors with P. aeruginosa activity.
Alice is an active member of the antibiotic research community and was a member of the panel of experts advising the Pew Trusts in preparation of their report A Scientific Roadmap for Antibiotic Discovery, published in May 2016. She is now part of the team developing the Pew Charitable Trusts’ database SPARK (Shared Platform for Antibiotic Research and Knowledge).
Alice earned a PhD in microbiology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in 1990. Her postdoctoral research was in Emil Gotschlich’s laboratory at the Rockefeller University, New York.