The European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) has welcomed the launch of a €223.7-million ($276.5 million) program to tackle antimicrobial resistance and speed up the development of new antibiotics. The program was launched by the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI), a public–private partnership, and builds on the European Commission’s Action Plan against the rising threats from Antimicrobial Resistance, which was launched in November 2011.
The program will bring together leading academics and five major pharmaceutical companies. The IMI has issued a call for proposals and has set aside a budget of up to €223.7 million ($276.5 million) in funding, with €109 million ($134.8 million) coming from the IMI and a further €114.7 million ($141.8 million) coming from contributions by participating EFPIA companies.
Michael Goldman, executive director of the IMI, said in a statement, “This is a historic opportunity for Europe to overcome a public health problem which threatens millions of lives worldwide. For researchers in universities, hospitals and small and medium-sized enterprises it is also a unique opportunity to speed up their research in the area of antimicrobial resistance, as the collaboration will give them access to the knowledge and expertise of the pharmaceutical industry.”
According to the IMI, antibacterial drug development is no longer a financially viable option for pharmaceutical companies. As well as scientific challenges and complex regulatory requirements, the cost of developing an antibiotic outweighs the potential returns on investment.
The IMI’s program is expected to use approximately €600 million in funding over the next seven years. Initial projects will focus on building and training networksof researchers, facilitating and increasing the exchange of research data, and improving the efficiency of clinical trials.
Richard Bergström, director-general of EFPIA said, “Our researchers and the scientific community have realized that we can only deal with this urgent threat by working together and pooling our knowledge.... by co-funding clinical trials, policy makers in Europe have created a strong incentive for companies and investors to come back to this field of research.”