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Industry comes together to form the AMR Action Fund, pledging $1bn to fight antimicrobial resistance

Published on 10/07/20 at 11:28am

Over 20 biopharma firms have come together to launch the AMR Action Fund, an initiative of the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations (IFPMA), with a goal to deliver between two and four new antibiotic therapies by 2030 in a bid to tackle the growing threat of antibiotic resistance (AMR).

The fund has so far raised almost $1 billion to support clinical research with further investment planned, and will link up with a range of players including development banks, philanthropies and multilateral organisations to this end.  Among its high profile members are names including Novartis, Roche, Novo Nordisk, Pfizer, Amgen, Bayer, Boehringer Ingelheim, Eli Lilly, GSK, J&J, MSD, Takeda and Teva.

According to the fund, AMR “has the potential to dwarf COVID-19 in terms of deaths and economic costs,” taking 700,000 lives every year, and this is projected to grow to 10 million annual deaths by 2050 according to worst case projections.

“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,” said Thomas Cueni, Director General of the IFPMA. “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.”

Lack of a viable market for new antibiotics has meant a dearth of these products in development pipelines, with many players falling into bankruptcy or leaving the space, meaning funding is not sufficient to meet public health needs, particularly in later stages of clinical research.

With its launch across several virtual events in Germany, the US and Japan, the fund detailed the steps it will take to achieve its goals. This includes providing technical support to companies with antibiotic portfolios, offering them access to the pooled expertise and resources of its constituent members, and to support smaller biotechs with investment to drive the development of innovative antibacterial treatments.

Despite the levels of investment it is putting forward, the fund also argues that action is still needed from global policy makers to reform reimbursement and incentives to encourage antibiotic development.

Richard Torbett, Chief Executive of the ABPI, supported the launch of the fund, but said it would need to form part of a wider strategy:“This is a significant investment from an industry that’s serious about fighting antimicrobial resistance, but it’s just one piece of a very complicated puzzle. This new research fund comes with a plea to national Governments around the world to ramp up their efforts to fix the market and work with us to find a sustainable solution.”

The fund is expected to be operational during the fourth quarter of this year.

Matt Fellows

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