In July a major initiative of the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations, designed to combat the rising tide of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and accelerate the pace at which new antibiotics are discovered and brought to market, was announced. The $1 billion AMR Action Fund, supported by 23 pharma companies, was created “because there was a clear realization that we have no time to spare to address the lack of innovation in this area,” said Martin Bott, interim general manager of the fund, who described the progress being made with the fund in a fireside chat at this week’s virtual BIO Investor Forum (BIF).

Bott was speaking with Gregory Frank, senior director of Infectious Disease Policy at the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO), who leads several infectious diseases policy issues, including antimicrobial resistance and vaccine policy. In his opening remarks, Frank painted a dire picture of the current situation, where several innovative biotechnology companies working on antibiotics have had to close their doors unable to get sufficient return on their investments to remain viable. In parallel, there has been limited investment in the field because the rewards are simply not there.

Bott agreed, “The dearth of innovation is the direct result of the lack of valuation and rewards for companies working in this space.”

Using the existing drugs more efficiently and minimizing inappropriate use of antibiotics is not the answer either. “You cannot steward your way out of the problem,” Frank said, “you need to have a steady product pipeline as AMR will always be with us.”

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