Publicly funded antibacterial drug development in Europe

The urgent need for new antibacterial drugs to treat multidrug-resistant Gram-negative infections is well recognized as a public health emergency. Discovery and development of new drugs is hampered by a number of scientific and clinical development hurdles that cannot be tackled by any individual organisation working alone.  To reinvigorate research into new antibiotics the European public-private partnership Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) has launched the first two projects of its programme ‘New Drugs for Bad Bugs’ (ND4BB). The new projects, COMBACTE (Combatting Bacterial Resistance in Europe) and TRANSLOCATION (Molecular basis of the bacterial cell wall permeability), will focus on new models for the clinical development of antibiotics as well as address new ways of getting antibiotics into Gram-negative bacteria and preventing efflux of the drugs. An important topic of the current call is the discovery and development of new drugs combatting Gram-negative infections (Klebsiella pneumoniae, Acinetobacter baumannii, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and E. coli) from the discovery of hits to leads and Development Candidates to Phase 1 clinical studies. The planned EU budget for the current call is 59M €. The goal of this call is to deliver 1-2 novel mode of action Gram-negative antibacterial ready for Phase 1 clinical trials within 5-6 years.

At the same time, the European Commission is planning the details of the next funding frame work Horizon 2020. Special aspects of antibacterial drug R&D included in the next funding period will be discussed at the Superbugs & Superdrugs Conference in London, 4th and 5th March 2013. I will present the topic “Publicly funded antibacterial drug development in Europe” and will be a panel member of the Round Table Discussion including Richard Bax (TranScrip Partners), Richard Bergstrom (Director General, European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations, EFPIA), Ursula Theuretzbacher (Center For Anti-Infective Agents), Line Matthiessen, Head of Infectious Diseases and Public Health Unit, European Commission). We hope for a lively discussion that will address key aspects of antibacterial drug development from the point of view of all involved stake holders. All these discussions and contributions of stake holders will be considered when finalizing the calls of the next funding round.

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