29-05-2012: GlaxoSmithKline and AstraZeneca welcomed the launch of a pioneering approach to antibiotic research in Europe that will see pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies working alongside public partners to tackle the rising threat from antibiotic resistance and address some of the key barriers to the development of effective antibiotics.
The objective of the proposed research programme is to improve the underlying scientific understanding of antibiotic resistance, design and implement efficient clinical trials and take novel drug candidates through clinical development. The programme is part of the European Commission’s Action Plan against the rising threats from Antimicrobial Resistance, launched in November last year. Set against a backdrop of emerging resistant bacteria and with the pipeline of future antibiotics described by the World Health Organization (WHO) as “virtually dry”, this innovative research programme, NewDrugs4BadBugs, intends to boost the currently faltering discovery and development of new antibiotics.
Supported by the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI), Europe’s largest public-private initiative, the research programme’s first projects will be funded by a joint budget of up to €223.7 million – €109 million provided by IMI and €114.7 million in kind contributions from the pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies involved.
GlaxoSmithKline, AstraZeneca, Janssen, Sanofi and Basilea Pharmaceutica will work alongside public research organisations and scientific experts to address several aspects of resistance and stimulate new antibiotic research. Further projects within the programme, with additional funding, are expected to launch later in the year. Antibiotic resistance is increasingly becoming a worldwide health threat. Many of the medical advances in recent years, such as chemotherapy for cancer treatment and organ transplantation, depend on effective antibiotics.
Despite this need and the continued emergence of bacteria resistant to existing drugs, research has diminished over the past 15 years and few companies remain active in this area. This is due to the scientific difficulties in finding new agents that successfully target bacteria, regulatory complexities and a lack of the commercial incentives needed to encourage investment in this area and to fund future R&D.
The proposed research programme will initially focus on three key areas:
- Progressing development of pipeline antibiotics
- Information sharing
- Continuing research and discovering new antibiotics