AMR action: Generations not years
04 November 2016
Yesterday a significant conference brought together the key UK players who are involved in tackling the critical issue of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). The fact that such an event is taking place reflects the urgency that is now being attributed to this issue. In the UK there is an opportunity to play a leading role in the action that is required if we are to stand a chance of making an impact.
PwC has today published a ‘state of the nation’ report which sets out the nature of the challenge and how the UK pharmaceutical and lifesciences sector is responding. We have spoken to a number of experts in the sector as well as analysing the extent of AMR research and development (R&D). We’ve also set out which different organisations are involved and given an overview of funding at the different stages of the AMR R&D process. The aim of our report is to better understand the challenges of developing new antibiotics and what can be done to speed up the process, secure more funding and make a lasting breakthrough more likely.
The picture that has emerged is a challenging one. Whilst there are many valuable R&D initiatives underway there is a strong view that the money available for research nowhere near matches the funding requirement.
“The UK needs to step up its game in terms of the level of funding given the cost of what they want to achieve. It’s very welcome to have the funding going into the discovery end, but the expensive nuts and bolts of this game is getting things through translation and into the clinic”. Biotech founder & CEO of AMR Public Private Partnership.
In reality, we need more money and for longer. We need private, public, and philanthropic funding and we need these organisations to collaborate at every level. We need better action on hospital-acquired infections, better input from the regulators and concerted efforts to increase our skills capacity.
AMR is a global problem, with potentially catastrophic global consequences. The UK has played a leading role so far, and done much of the necessary groundwork in terms of raising awareness and galvanising international consensus. This has been vital. But the action taken thus far is inadequate, and the level of available funding will not be enough to make significant progress. More needs to be done, quickly, and internationally. Developing new antibiotics requires us to think in generations not years. But, in the UK, we certainly have the potential and the desire to make lasting impact. This conference is an important step on that road.