Antibacterial innovation in European SMEs

This analysis provides a current snapshot of the innovation potential for antibacterial R&D among European small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). It has been recently published in Nature Reviews Drug Discovery. The report shows that far more effective coordination and well-targeted support by public and philanthropic funders will be crucial to sufficiently fill antibiotic R&D pipelines according to priorities based on the greatest public health needs.

Ursula Theuretzbacher: Antibacterial innovation in European SMEs. Nature Reviews Drug Discovery 2016, 15:812–813

Presenting at TATFAR meeting in Luxembourg

The Transatlantic Taskforce on Antimicrobial Resistance (TATFAR) identifies and adopts recommendations for collaborations between the US and the EU to respond to the growing challenges posed by antimicrobial resistance. The biennial in-person TATFAR meeting will take place October 22-23, 2015 in Luxembourg City and I have been invited to present my views in the expert workshop “How do we keep new antibiotics effective? Balancing access and conservation”.

My slides will be available on the AIDA website after the meeting.

Where are new antibiotics coming from?

While most big pharma companies left the field of antibiotic drug discovery, small companies—mostly backed by academic institutions—are stepping in to drive research and early clinical development in the antibiotics field. Most small companies face serious hurdles when focusing on antibacterial drug R&D.  These challenges are not only financial limitations but also scientific problems, shortage of experienced personnel, dependence on external support, lack of appropriate diagnostics, the need for R&D short cuts, and IP issues in collaborations may impact directly on these companies.

My recent  GEN Exclusives article in Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News (GEN), a widely read biotech publication and online portal highlights some of my activites related to antibiotics R&D in small companies.

An in-depth analysis of the role of small companies in anitbiotics R&D can be found on the DRIVE-AB website. The EU project DRIVE-AB (Driving reinvestment in research and development and responsible antibiotic use) is funded by the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) to find ways policymakers can stimulate innovation, responsible use and global access to antibiotics to meet public health needs. A central objective of DRIVE-AB is to engage with all interested stakeholders including small companies.

New economic models to incentivice antibiotics R&D should strongly consider the contributions of small companies and publicly funded research institutions.

New approved antibiotics

Which antibiotics has the FDA approved in the last year? Will they help combat antibiotic resistance?

In a blog published on the CDDEP website I give an overview of how the six new approvals will help treat resistant bacteria in certain patient populations. I summarise each antibiotic, give expert detail and context for these new drugs that have been in development for years and even decades. Though we will have six new antibiotics available based on known antibacterial drug classes or approaches, they will not provide a solution to the treatment of infections caused by extensively or pan drug-resistant bacteria.

DRIVE-AB launched

DRIVE-AB (Driving Reinvestment in R&D and Responsible Antibiotic Use), a public-private consortium funded by the EU Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI), hold its inaugural meeting which announced the launch of a €9.3million project to tackle the dual crisis of antimicrobial resistance and re-stimulate Pharma interest in antibiotic research and development. We will develop new economic models to incentivise antibiotic discovery and development activities while safeguarding the efficacy of antibiotics by researching and advocating their appropriate use.

I am responsible for  communication, engagement of all involved stakeholder groups, and dissemination of results of this multinational project. My partners are the British Society of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy (BSAC) and the Chatham House (Royal Institute of International Affairs, London).

Antibiotics wins the Longitude Prize

Antibiotics was the winning theme for the 2014 Longitude Prize. This £10m science prize  fund has been offered by the innovation charity Nesta and the UK government-funded Technology Strategy Board. It  aims at promoting an innovation that could “solve one of the greatest issues of our time” following a public vote. Antibiotic resistance has been voted as the deadliest threat of our times. The£10 million funding will target ideas that could help halt the rise of antibiotic resistance.

The challenge will be to create a cost-effective, accurate, rapid, and easy-to-use test for bacterial infections that will allow health professionals worldwide to administer the right antibiotics at the right time.

Gram-negative R&D pipelines dry up

Gram-negative R&D pipelines dry up

GSK has pressed the “pause” button and halted collaboration on one of the few promising novel anti-Gram-negative compounds that had progressed beyond Phase 1. Here is yet another warning sign that antibacterial pipelines are under close scrutiny and may dry up quickly and completely.

My recent review article “Accelerating resistance, inadequate antibacterial drug pipelines and international responses” in the International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents details the critical health problem of growing multidrug resistance in the face of slim prospects for novel treatments. However there is hope, as the threat of untreatable infectious diseases has spurred national and international government responses. Read more in my new publication.

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.
ECCMID 2011
, 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)