BIA welcomes the publication of the UK government antimicrobial resistance strategy (AMR) that drives to put the challenge of AMR on the global agenda

10 Sep 2013

The BIA welcomes the publication of the UK government’s antimicrobial resistance strategy today.

Steve Bates, BioIndustry Association (BIA) Chief Executive Officer, said:
The vibrant UK bioscience base is eager to play its part in addressing this global challenge. UK biotech companies, such as Discuva and Cantab Anti-infectives for example, are using Biomedical Catalyst funding to discover and develop new antimicrobial classes for Gram-negative bacteria. At the same time, Redx Pharma has attracted significant backing from the UK Government’s Regional Growth Fund to support the creation of its Anti-infectives R&D subsidiary.

The BIA welcomes the UK government antimicrobial resistance strategy to tackle it. We particularly look forward to working with government and others to explore innovative mechanisms to stimulate the development of new antimicrobials and rapid diagnostics for infections.

However, getting the incentives right globally for investment in this is essential. For instance, we need incentives for pharmaceutical companies to develop drugs that will only be used infrequently and sparingly rather than paid for every pill used. I hope this strategy inspires discussion of new concepts around this agenda to enable commercial companies to fully engage on this vital challenge for society.

Dr Neil Murray, CEO of Redx Pharma, commented:
Every year some 25,000 people in the EU die as a result of a serious drug resistant infection – mostly acquired in healthcare settings. The World Health Organisation has launched a major initiative to urge governments and the pharmaceutical industry to promote new R&D efforts to develop new anti-infective medicines.

Redx is playing an active part in this effort and we welcome the fact our own government has not only recognised the seriousness of the situation, but is seeking to provide leadership on the issue.

The BIA is keen to play its part in developing plans on how the sector can respond to the challenge the strategy sets. Following the Science Ministers and Presidents of the Science Academies G8 meeting and commitment in London in June, the BIA:

  • has raised the issue of getting incentives right with the international council of biotech associations, which includes representatives of all the G8 partners;
  • will hold a special session at its UK Bioscience Forum on 10 October in partnership with Public Health England; and
  • will participate in BioInfect 2013 – a major one-day conference looking at the critical issues relating to the development of new anti-infectives and the endemic problem of resistance. Co-hosted by Bionow and BioHub the event will take place at the Alderley Park Conference Centre in Cheshire on 26 November 2013 and is supported by AstraZeneca and Redx Pharma.

Geoff Davison, CEO of Bionow said:
We are delighted to be able to contribute to this debate by hosting an event addressing the key issues around such a critically important topic. To do this in the North of England and open up the discussion to many more businesses and scientists contributing to this agenda is a great opportunity and we are delighted that Professor Dame Sally Davies has agreed to be the keynote speaker at BioInfect 2013.

Redx Pharma is co-sponsoring the BioInfect 2013 event: