To help stave off resistance, new antibiotics created today are often held in reserve and seldom used. And when they are used, patients only need a short course of treatment for bacterial infections. This lies in stark contrast to the treatment of many chronic illnesses, for which patients often need to take medication for life. All this means that pharmaceutical companies don’t tend to recover their costs in researching and developing these medicines.
In July 2019, we welcomed the UK trial of subscription-style payment system for pharma companies to incentivise creation of new antibiotics. We believe the UK Government commitment to test this new payment model to support antibiotics R&D has the potential to be game-changing and we hope other countries will follow the UK’s lead.
Collaborating to discover and develop new medicines
We can’t do it alone.
Antibiotic research is one of the areas where we believe taking a more open-minded approach to sharing information and partnering with experts outside our labs is key. That’s why we were the first company to establish a public private partnership approach to antibacterial R&D working with funding bodies in both Europe and the USA, to help address some of the key barriers to the discovery and development of new medicines.
Some of these partnerships include the US government’s Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) and Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) with the aim to support the development of several antibiotics to fight antibiotic resistance and bioterrorism.
We want more companies to commit to this area, to work with us to help develop a new generation of antibiotics. To do this, we need to crack the financial conundrum that’s deterred critical investment in this area.
We have been consistently vocal about the need for change and we’re very encouraged by the number of other companies, government and non-government organisations active in this space that have shown a willingness to come together to develop new frameworks for paying for antibiotics, that reward companies for their investment and innovation.
Through a combination of our own expertise and smart, collaborative and innovative methods of working, we’re convinced we can develop innovative new ways of tackling bacteria, to protect human health for generations to come.