IMI to spur on antibiotics research amidst big pharma pullback

The Innovative Medicines Initiative has launched a new Antimicrobial Resistance Accelerator Programme after Novartis announced its retreat from antibiotics research only days ago.


The new IMI AMR Accelerator aims to progress the development of new treatments and vaccines for resistant bacterial infections. It “represents a strategic, coordinated response to one of the biggest challenges facing the world today,” commented Pierre Meulien, IMI Executive Director. The programme is part of latest IMI Calls for proposals, which have a total budget of €434m.

The programme comprises three pillars. A Capability Building Network will coordinate the programme and carry out research to strengthen the scientific basis in the AMR field, while the Tuberculosis Drug Development Network will work to accelerate the discovery of new combinations of drugs to treat TB. Finally, Portfolio Building Networks will support collaborative efforts to discover, develop and advance new and innovative agents to prevent or treat AMR. More on the call.

This news follows close on the heels of Novartis announcing its departure from antibacterial and antiviral research. News organisation Endpoint News reported last week that the Swiss pharma giant is joining others that have recently pulled back from antibiotics research, such as AstraZeneca and Sanofi.

Meanwhile, the US government is taking steps to incentivise antimicrobial development. A bipartisan bill plans to offer companies that bring “priority” antimicrobial product to market, an award of 12 additional months of market exclusivity. The award can be conveyed to any drug, can be split and even sold – an asset potentially worth hundreds of millions.

The antimicrobial market is at the heart of the 2019 Berlin Conference on Life Sciences. During this 1.5-day event, Life Science decision makers, business developers, investors and legal experts will explore the current antimicrobial market from a financial, technological and legal perspective. Read more.


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