More than 20 global pharmaceutical companies have collectively pledged to invest nearly US$1 billion through a new Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) Action Fund. It will invest in smaller biotech companies and provide industry expertise to support the clinical development of novel antibiotics.
The pharmaceutical industry, in collaboration with the WHO, the European Investment Bank, and the Wellcome Trust, came together to design the AMR Action Fund. Supported by the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA), it will form one of the largest global ventures ever set up to address AMR.
The AMR Action Fund aims to bring up to four new antibiotics to patients by 2030, working with partners to create market conditions that enable sustainable investment and to bridge innovative candidates in the pipeline through the most challenging later stages of medicine development. It will ultimately provide governments time to make the necessary policy reforms to enable a sustainable antibiotic pipeline.
Lorraine Chiroiu, CEO, AusBiotech says, “AMR is a worldwide public health concern. Australia holds leading scientific capabilities and the support of the Action Fund and the collaboration across industry will enable momentum to be built and for industry to play its essential role in developing and bringing innovative medicines to patients. Unlike COVID-19, AMR is a threat we can prepare for, but the clock is ticking.”
The UN has labelled AMR ‘a global crisis’, with approximately 700,000 people dying every year from drug-resistant infections. This could increase to 10 million by 2050 unless action is taken.
Despite the huge societal costs of AMR, there is no viable market for new antibiotics and therefore little funding available to support clinical research. As a result, important antibiotics in the early stages of development may never get over the “valley of death” to reach patients.
AusBiotech is supportive of efforts to enhance the global response to AMR, and has previously responded to public consultation on Australia’s Next Antimicrobial Resistance Strategy: 2020 and Beyond, stressing that industry needs to be more explicitly involved as a key stakeholder. It also partnered in the development and release of an industry position paper, together with BioIntelect, Medicines Australia, Pfizer, MSD and CSIRO. The paper considers the current challenges and key industry recommendations for antimicrobial R&D, AMR international engagement and the regulatory and reimbursement framework in Australia.
The ongoing involvement with industry to progress the AMR research agenda is critical.