Conference to stimulate innovation in antibiotic R&D

On Thursday 2 June, 2016, the DRIVE-AB consortium, which is developing new economic models to stimulate antibiotic innovation and ensure global access to and sustainable use of antibiotics, held the “Stimulating innovation, sustainable use and global access to antibiotics” conference in Amsterdam.

Global leaders agree on the need to maintain a steady supply of new antibiotics for all as a critical part of the strategy to address antibiotic resistance and that new reward models are necessary to achieve this goal. While basic frameworks have been proposed, the DRIVE-AB consortium seeks a level of granularity that other initiatives have not, moving beyond discussions to concrete plans for policy implementation.

DRIVE-AB shared its preliminary proposals at the event, which attracted more than 180 high-level decision-makers and policy experts, economists, regulatory and public health experts and representatives of pharmaceutical companies and research institutions from around the world. The conference featured keynote speakers and panellists from the World Health Organization, the European Commission, the European Investment Bank, and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to name a few. The participation of a diverse group of stakeholders at the conference illustrates the level of global interest in the outcomes of DRIVE-AB, and will help the consortium secure the buy-in of stakeholders who can help to implement new incentive policies.


DRIVE-AB Conference in Amsterdam

The DRIVE-AB Conference Stimulating innovation, sustainable use and global access to antibiotics will take place on 2 and 3 June 2016 in Amsterdam. This conference, generously funded by the Government of the Netherlands and organized by the IMI DRIVE AB consortium, will bring together about 150 invited decision-makers and policy influencers from around the world to explore current and proposed efforts to address antibiotic resistance. The main goal of the meeting is to move beyond discussions and instead identify key policies that can be implemented globally to both stimulate the innovation of critically-needed new treatments and ensure their availability and responsible use. Input from the conference will help inform DRIVE AB’s policy recommendations to the European Commission—an important part of growing global discussion on how to manage the looming public health threat of resistance.

Conference on revived antibiotics in Vienna, Austria

In the face of increasing antimicrobial resistance and the lack of new agents it has become clear that we need new strategies. One of these must be to revisit old antibiotics to make sure that we are using them correctly and to their full potential as well as to find out if one or several of them can help alleviate the pressure on more recent agents.

In collaboration with my colleagues I have initiated and organised the ESCMID Conference on Reviving Old Antibiotics, 22 – 24 October 2014 in Vienna, Austria. This conference will provide an inspiring environment to share and discuss our old and new knowledge of these recently revived agents. Many of the world’s leading experts and researchers have accepted our invitation to actively participate in the meeting. For each session, invited speakers who are at the forefront of their respective fields will discuss how progress at the bench can be translated into actions in the field and highlight gaps in our knowledge. The last day of the conference is dedicated to an extensive panel discussion with ample opportunity for input from the audience and final recommendations about priority research, how gaps in our knowledge may be filled and what policy changes and which funding actions are needed.

Don’t miss this conference!

Global antibacterial resistance: The never-ending story

My recent publication Global antibacterial resistance: The never-ending story features the threat of multidrug-resistant pathogens that are spreading globally with unprecedented speed. According to their resistance epidemiology (based on major drivers favouring resistance), I highlighted three regions as high-impact resistance hot spots. In a globalised world, we all may be affected by potentially untreatable infectious diseases in the future.

Due to limited therapeutic options for the management of these difficult-to-treat pathogens an international panel of experts from Europe, the Americas and Asia discussed the issues of management of  infections caused by multidrug-resistant and extensively drug-resistant Gram-negative bacilli in a consensus conference as part of the 13th Asia-Pacific Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infection. I organized the publication of the conference results based on the achieved consensus of the experts. Though important clinical evidence is scarce this publication will hopefully contribute to an improved management of these patients.

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.

The World Economic Forum

The Global Risks Report 2013 has just been published and analyses 50 global risks in terms of impact, likelihood and interconnections. To summarize:  The world is not safer and global risks become more worrying.

This year’s findings include the chapter “The dangers of hubris to human health” that describes how antibiotic resistance can overwhelm not only our health systems but also damaged our social and economic systems. I would recommend reading this report as a good source for reflecting the contribution of each of us to the increasing global risks. Taking antibiotics when they are not helpful and necessary is a small step to a future world with multidrug resistance and a lack of effective antibiotics.

Here is the report:

1st international polymyxin conference

As a member of the organizing committee I would like to invite you to attend the first international polymyxin conference that is held in beautiful Prato, Italy, on 2 – 4 May, 2013, to learn of the latest findings on the polymyxin antibiotics.

Colistin and polymyxin B became available in the clinic in the 1950s but soon fell out of favor, mainly due to concerns about their potential to cause kidney toxicity. They have now come back into use as ‘last line’ antibiotics for the treatment of infections caused by Gram-negative pathogens that are resistant to other available antibiotics. During the first several decades after they began to be used, there was little information on how to use them most effectively. Over the last several years, substantial progress has been made in understanding how to optimize their clinical use.

Early bird registrations close on December 7, 2012 and spaces at this opinion leader conference are strictly limited.

ISAP symposium

International Society for Anti-Infective Pharmacology (ISAP)

This year’s ISAP post ICAAC Symposium will take place on Wednesday, September 12th, 2-6 pm.

Location: San Francisco, Fort Mason Center, Marina Blvd & Buchanan St, Golden Gate Room

As in previous years, the symposium has two segments:

1. Main topic: Jason Roberts: Translational aspects of PK/PD tools for personalized dosing in the ICU. The presentation is followed by some prepared comments regarding online PK/PD tools to support dosing decisions as well as a lively discussion.

2. Forum for Young Investigators: Brief presentations on PK/PD topics related to old and new anti-infectives.
Young Investigators – this is an unique opportunity for insightful and motivating feedback regarding your research!

During the ICAAC, ISAP organizes four workshops as well as several symposia dedicated to PK/PD.

Public Research should benefit Society

In an open letter sent today to the President and Members of the European Commission as well as the European Parliament and the EU Member states, 98 civil society and research organisations from across Europe warn that the Commission’s draft proposals for the next Research funding framework (2014-2020) fail to address the real challenges faced by European societies and call for a research agenda geared towards the needs of society and the environment rather than those of big business.

Our recent React meeting in Brussels to discuss the challenges in discovery and development of new antibiotics “Collaboration for Innovation – The Urgent Need for New Antibiotics”  provided strong input for the upcoming action plan from the EU commission. Among invited key stakeholders were representatives from the European Commission, the European Medicines Agency, the World Health Organization, academia, the pharmaceutical industry as well as several civil society organizations. Key issues discussed at the meeting were put in the perspective of the upcoming action plan from the EU commission and included the nature of the scientific challenges, possibilities for open source solutions, and the need for a new business logic for antibiotic discovery and development where the return of investment is decoupled from sales to the extent possible.

We hope that our ideas and analysis will find their way into the next Research funding framework (2014-2020).

Symposium at ECCMID

Don’t miss our symposium at ECCMID!

My proposal for a symposium arranged with the ESCMID PK/PD of Anti-Infectives Study Group (EPASG) and the ISC Working Group: Antimicrobials of the Future has been accepted by ESCMID.
, May, 7-10, 2011, Milano, Italy

Bridging the gap of innovation – what we all could do

* Antibacterial pipelines – what to expect in the future (U. Theuretzbacher)
* Political processes for the global need for effective antibiotics – moving towards concerted action (O. Cars)
* New ways of using old and coming antibiotics (J. Mouton)
* Improving usage by guidelines – the European experience (P. Tulkens)

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