A new, not-for-profit coalition has launched with a mission to tackle antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and what it sees as the ‘near-empty antibiotic development pipeline’.
Antibiotic Discovery Global is launched today at the Wellcome Trust London by Sir Anthony Coates, founder of Antibiotic Discovery-UK.
“We hope Antibiotic Discovery Global will provide the much-needed catalyst through which the antibiotic discovery market can be regenerated,” he says. “Experts from across the globe will be able to share their expertise and energies and help us to encourage new, up and coming researchers into the antibiotic discovery field.”
It has been estimated that 10 million people will die each year from a multi‐drug resistant infection by 2050, at a global cost of $100 trillion.
“It is essential that we rebuild the academic and industrial infrastructure if we are to tackle what is undoubtedly the greatest crisis facing human health,” Sir Anthony continues.
Last month the UK government’s Review on Antimicrobial Resistance, chaired by Jim O’Neill, recommended the creation of a $2 billion global fund to incentivise the development of new antibiotics – a move which the new group supports.
Pharma has been largely avoiding the development of solutions to resistance to antibiotics on the basis that there are other, more likely, revenue streams to tap first.
However, funding is not the only issue: there is also a dearth of ideas and Antibiotic Discovery Global says it will provide data and infrastructure to support global discovery and development.
Its plans include the rejuvenation of older products for new uses, promoting global PhD and Fellowship programmes in antibiotic discovery, and providing a forum for academia and pharma to meet and discuss issues.
“We need to invest more in the people who will solve the challenges raised by drug‐resistant infections,” says O’Neill. “This initiative can start turning the tide and play an important role to attract the new generation of researchers in academia and public and commercial labs.”
Free to join, the new group is based on the experience of Antibiotic Discovery-UK, which is seeking to raise funds to discover a new antibiotic by 2020.