More than 20 major biopharmaceutical companies, including Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline and Johnson & Johnson, have partnered to launch the AMR Action Fund with an aim to provide two to four new antibiotics to patients by 2030.
The fund is intended to tackle the rapid increase of antibiotic-resistant infections, called antimicrobial resistance (AMR).
It is an initiative of the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations (IFPMA).
So far, the drugmakers have raised approximately $1bn in funding to support clinical research of new antibiotics targeting the most resistant bacteria and infections that could be life-threatening.
The AMR Action Fund will be leveraged by the companies to collaborate with philanthropies, development banks and multilateral organisations. It will offer financial resources and also technical support to biotech companies developing new antibiotics.
IFPMA director general Thomas Cueni said: “Unlike Covid-19, AMR is a predictable and preventable crisis. We must act together to rebuild the pipeline and ensure that the most promising and innovative antibiotics make it from the lab to patients.
“The AMR Action Fund is one of the largest and most ambitious collaborative initiatives ever undertaken by the pharmaceutical industry to respond to a global public health threat.”
The fund is a response to the poor market conditions for new antibiotics, which compete with older, cheaper antibiotics and are used sparingly to maintain their effectiveness, resulting in poor sales. These conditions have led many large pharmaceutical companies to abandon antibiotic development altogether for more lucrative drugs, while several smaller biotech companies—which dominate the antibiotic development space—have gone bankrupt despite bringing new and novel antibiotics to market.
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IFPMA president and Eli Lilly chairman and CEO David Ricks said: “The AMR Action Fund will support innovative antibiotic candidates through the most challenging later stages of drug development, ultimately providing governments time to make the necessary policy reforms to enable a sustainable antibiotic pipeline.”
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Set to become operational in the fourth quarter of this year, the AMR Action Fund plans to invest more than $1bn with the support of future partners.