The emergence of multi‐drug resistant infections and the loss of infrastructure for antibiotic discovery over the past two decades, meaning there are few new agents reaching market, poses unprecedented challenges to human health.
By 2050 it is estimated that 10 million people annually will die from a multi‐drug resistant infection at a global cost of $100 trillion1. That is 10 million individuals for whom there will be no hope of treatment or cure. Millions more will find commonplace surgeries, cancer therapies and treatment for chronic conditions such as cystic fibrosis threatened unless new, effective antibiotics are discovered, developed and made available.
Prevention of infections through improved hygiene and preservation of the existing arsenal of antibiotics through education on use and prescribing and stewardship programs are an integral and essential part of the solution. However there is a critical need to rebuild the infrastructure and international capacity for antibiotic discovery and development which has virtually disappeared over the past two decades due to company mergers, lack of investment in the field and the consequent and systematic loss of experts within industry and academia.
World experts are gathering on 10th June 2015 at the Wellcome Trust London to launch Antibiotic Discovery Global, a powerful coalition of world experts that are joining forces to tackle the dual crisis of antimicrobial resistance and the near empty antibiotic development pipeline. This first global network of experts in antibiotic discovery and development from industry and academia will be launched by Anthony Coates, Founder, Antibiotic Research UK with a guest keynote address by Jim O’Neill, Chair and Review on Antimicrobial Resistance.
Antibiotic Discovery Global will provide an international knowledge base and infrastructure to support global antibiotic discovery and development, including the rejuvenation of older antibiotics for new uses. The network will support the need for the establishment of a Global Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Innovation Fund, as proposed by the O’Neill Review on AMR, and will promote the need for global PhD and Fellowship programs in antibiotic discovery.
Jim O’Neill, Chair, Review into Antimicrobial Resistance welcomed the coalition saying “we need to invest more in the people who will solve the challenges raised by drug‐resistant infections. Antibiotic Discovery Global will provide amuch needed forum for experts from academia and industry to meet, innovate and begin to rebuild a robustantibiotic discovery and development platform. This initiative can start turning the tide and play an important role toattract the new generation of researchers in academia and public and commercial labs”.
Sir Anthony Coates, Founder, Antibiotic Discovery UK, St George’s, University of London, said “We hope Antibiotic Discovery Global will provide the much needed catalyst through which the antibiotic discovery market can be regenerated. Experts from across the globe will be able to share their expertise and energies and help us to encourage new, up and coming researchers into the antibiotic discovery field.” He continued “It is essential that we rebuild the academic and industrial infrastructure if we are to tackle what is undoubtedly the greatest crisis facing human health.”
Professor Laura Piddock, Director of Antibiotic Action, welcome the launch saying “Antibiotic Action has long campaigned for the discovery, development and bringing to market of new antibiotics for all who need them, now and in the future. The problems we face are global, and global initiatives such as this are essential if we are to solve the dual crisis of antibiotic resistance and the empty antibiotic pipeline.”
Spain has actively participated in the formation of the Antibiotic Discovery Global (AD-Global), through the recently created Red Nacional para el Descrubrimiento de Nuevos Antibióticos (AD-ES). This organization was constituted last November with the aim of pushing the Spanish research in the antibiotics field to higher levels in the international community.
Domingo Gargallo-Viola, scientific director of Abac Therapeutics and spokesman of AD-ES in the AD-Global initiative explained: “Spain has a key role in both the know-how and in the research of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases at a global scale; for this reason is of the utmost importance to join efforts in this field and spread our initiatives”
The AD-ES network has significantly contributed to the establishment of the BEAM alliance (http://beam-alliance.eu/), an European collaborative effort to fight against antibiotics resistances. At the same time, similar national networks as the one forged in Spain had appeared in the EEUU and in Australasia. The members of those agencies are actively collaborating with experts of other countries and together they formed the AD-global association.