Antibiotic resistance: what viable business model? – news

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The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the urgency of developing treatments and vaccines against emerging infections. The opportunity to relaunch the fight against antibiotic resistance. But for that, the speakers of the second round table of the symposium of Pharmaceuticals
on infectious diseases came to testify to the need to build a viable business model for manufacturers.

“If France has been proactive in the fight against antibiotic resistance with the establishment of a system for monitoring the consumption of antibiotics and associated resistance, it should have drawn the consequences earlier, poses the Dr Jean Carlet, honorary president of the Alliance against the development of multi-resistant bacteria, and president of the ministerial task force on the protection of the 2015 decrees, at the opening of the second round table of the colloquium of Pharmaceuticals dedicated to infectious diseases. But the Covid-19 crisis has made citizens aware of microbial transmission, and antibiotic resistance is now a subject we can talk about, ”he says with satisfaction. Still, the current business model, which correlates revenues to sales volumes, is not an incentive for industrial investment. “The problem of antibiotic resistance is to finance the development of new ones, of which we will do everything so that they are little used”, explains Pierre Dubois, professor of economics at the Toulouse School of Economics, who has thus observed for decades a drying up of the innovation pipeline in this sector.

Low prices, low quantities

The equation is not laudable for manufacturers. But there is an urgent need to act, as underlined Philippe Lamoureux, Managing Director of Leem and Vice-President of IFPMA: “By 2050, antibiotic resistance could claim up to 10 million victims per year and cost up to 100,000 billion dollars to the Mondial economy. He laments that only 43 may currently be in development worldwide. “Among the manufacturers who have risked developing temptations over the past ten years, a third of them no longer exist, have been bought out or have had to change their business model”, he points out. Awareness is taking place and things are changing. 23 pharmaceutical companies, in collaboration with the European Investment Bank (EIB), the WHO and the Wellcome Trust, have invested in the AMR-Action Fund supported by IFPMA. “This is a fund endowed with 1 billion dollars which aims to develop, by 2030, two to four new ones likely to respond to an unmet public health problem”, reports the industrial. After a call for tenders and the examination of applications by a jury, two initial projects were selected: Adaptive Phage Therapeutics (APT), which is developing a library of phages, and Venatorx Pharmaceuticals, which is developing inhibitors of beta- lactams/beta-lactamases targeting drug-resistant Gram-negative bacteria.

Adapt business models

An Van Gerven, Director of the Hospital Division of Pfizer France, agrees with the need for innovation in the field. Pfizer has three plans to consider in its pipeline, the developments of which it wants to lead within five years. “The group is also forging specific alliances,” she says. The levers are those of the prevention of antibiotic resistance through the implementation of monitoring and diagnostic tools, the promotion of good use and the use of new economic models. “One of the solutions is to remove the link between income and the quantities of products sold,” asks Pierre Dubois. This is called the subscription model, independent of consumption. “It helps attract industrial investment, but it is expensive to implement,” he tempers. Another solution is on the market, that of the transfer of the exclusive patent rights of a newly approved antimicrobial to another product already in the portfolio of the manufacturer holding the MA or that of a third party, in any what a therapeutic area. Experiments that must prove their worth soon.

Juliette Badine

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