AMR Action Fund: A $1b down payment from Industry; A call for creation of strong Pull incentives

“The world is changed by your example, not by your opinion” (Paulo Coelho)

Dear All,

The AMR Action Fund (https://www.amractionfund.com/) announcement today was awesome … indeed, it brought tears to my eyes.

I listened in parallel to the presentations from Berlin and Washington where we had an all-star cast of US Senators, EU Members of Parliament, Health Ministers, Finance Ministers, private foundations, corporate CEOs, patient advocates (and a very moving personal patient story), physicians, and more. 

For those of you who missed it, here’s the quick story (full press release is here, the YouTube channel with video replays is here, and a follow-up newsletter is here):

  • A $1b fund created by 20+ global pharma: Almirall, Amgen, Bayer, Boehringer Ingelheim, Chugai, Daiichi Sankyo, Eisai, Eli Lilly & Co., GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, LEO Pharma, Lundbeck, Menarini, Merck, MSD, Novartis, Novo Nordisk, Novo Nordisk Foundation, Pfizer, Roche, Shionogi, Takeda, Teva, and UCB 
  • Goal #1: Bring 2-4 new antibiotics through Phase 2-3 and to approval for use in patients by 2030
  • Goal #2: Work to create market conditions that enable sustainable investment in antibiotics.

In short, this is a Push incentive like CARB-X or Novo REPAIR, but for Phase 2-3. And it comes at a critical time as it is currently effectively impossible to raise money to advance any of the promising candidates in the global pipeline beyond Phase 1 … having seen the market collapse of 1/3rd of the antibiotics approved in the past decade has soured the entire investment community. 

Critically, the AMR Action Fund is not a complete fix but rather it is a clarion call for action by governments to create the strong Pull incentives that will sustain new antibiotics in the marketplace (see this newsletter for more details). Unless those Pull incentives are created, the situation a few years from now will look like this:

  • The AMR Action fund will have brought new drugs through Phase 2-3 to approval, but
  • Those drugs will not be available because the companies behind them will be bankrupt, and
  • COVID-19 will be under control, but we’ll still have 700k+ dying each year from antibiotic-resistant infections.

Are Pull incentives possible on the needed scale? So far, only the UK has stepped forward (link) … will others follow? I do think so … and as you listen to the replays of the event that will soon be posted (and I encourage you to listen to both the Washington and the Berlin events … the content is similar but meaningfully different), please note carefully the breadth of voices. Finance Ministers! Senators! Members of Parliament!

We’ve worked now for 10+ years to raise awareness and understanding (go here for a list of the prior reports) and now it is time to use those insights to implement strong Pull incentives.The fact that our non-medical political leadership understands this problem is the key to ensuring that the next steps are taken. 

Finally, a specific shout-out to Thomas Cueni, Director General of IFPMA. He started pushing for this last year and it has been his leadership that helped everyone deliver this magnificent aligned vision and initiative. Thank you, Thomas!!

Wow! Wow! Wow! This $1b down payment from Industry will buy us some time in which to create those Pull incentives and ensure that we have a sustainable pipeline of new #FireExtinguishersOfMedicine!

All best wishes, –jr

John H. Rex, MD | Chief Medical Officer, F2G Ltd. | Operating Partner, Advent Life Sciences. Follow me on Twitter: @JohnRex_NewAbx. See past newsletters and subscribe for the future: https://amr.solutions/blog/. All opinions are my own.

Current funding opportunities:

  • Novo REPAIR Impact Fund is open for global applications through 31 Jul 2020. Go here for current details.
  • 2020 funding rounds for CARB-X have not been announced.
  • The Global AMR R&D Hub’s dynamic dashboard (link) summarizes funders and projects by geography, stage, and more.


Upcoming meetings of interest to the AMR community:

  • 9 Jul 2020 (online, 09:00-10:30 CEST): GARDP REVIVE webinar. Title: “The challenges and opportunities for antimicrobial R&D in low- and middle-income countries – India case study.” Speaker: Anand Anandkumar and Kamini Walla. Go here to register.
  • 16 Jul 2020 (online, 1-2.30pm EST): ASM Microbe 2020, President’s Forum. Go here for details.
  • 20 Jul 2020 (online, All-Day EST): ASM Microbe 2020, On-demand symposia, courses, and workshops. Go here for details.
  • 21-22 Jul 2020 (online, 11a-3p EST): ASM Microbe 2020, Live sessions. Go here for details.
  • 27-28 Jul 2020 (online, 11a-3p EST): ASM Microbe 2020, Live sessions. Go here for details.
  • 27 Jul-31 Jul 2020 (online): Small World Initiative Instructor Training Workshop – training for undergraduate professors and high school teachers in wet lab techniques, parallel curricula, & pedagogical instruction to engage students in the hunt to find new antibiotics in soil (also covering distancing learning options). Go here to register.
  • 4 Aug 2020 (Silver Spring): FDA workshop entitled “Development Considerations of Antifungal Drugs to Address Unmet Medical Need.” Go here to register.
  • 5 Aug 2020 (Silver Spring): FDA workshop entitled “Developing Antifungal Drugs for the Treatment of Coccidioidomycosis (Valley Fever) Infection.” Go here to register.
  • 17 Aug 2020 (online, 1-2.30p EST): ASM Microbe 2020, Industry & Science program. Go here for details.
  • September 2020. University of Sheffield (UK). Applications are being taken for a new 1-year (full-time) or 2-year (part-time) Masters of Science course in Antimicrobial Resistance. The program runs annually from September and covers microbiology, clinical practice and policy. The course webpage is here.
  • 9-10 Sep 2020 (Washington, DC): US PACCARB public meeting. Go here for details.
  • 26-29 Oct 2020 (online meeting), Annual ESPID meeting (European Society for Pediatric ID, #38)
  • 27 Oct 2020 (online meeting), BARDA Industry Day, a discussion of U.S. Government medical countermeasure priorities. Mark your calendar now and watch this website for details.
  • 10-13 Apr 2021 (Vienna): Annual ECCMID meeting (#31)
  • 20-24 June 2021 (Toronto): International Symposium on Pneumococci and Pneumococcal Diseases (ISPPD-12). Go here for details.
  • 3-7 Jun 2021 (Anaheim), ASM Microbe 2021. Go here for details.
  • 5-21 Aug 2021 (Marine Biology Laboratory, Woods Hole, MA): Residential course entitled “Molecular Mycology: Current Approaches to Fungal Pathogenesis.” This 2-week intensive training program has run annually for many years and gets outstanding reviews. Go here for details.
  • 8-11 Oct 2021 (Aberdeen, Scotland): 10th Trends in Medical Mycology. Go here for details.
  • 16-24 Oct 2021 (Annecy, France): Interdisciplinary Course on Antibiotics and Resistance (ICARe). This is a soup-to-nuts residential course on antibiotics, antibiotic resistance, and antibiotic R&D. The course is very intense, very detailed, and gets rave reviews. Registration is here and is limited to 40 students.
  • 18-21 May 2021 (Albuquerque, New Mexico): Biannual meeting of the MSGERC (Mycoses Study Group Education and Research Consortium). Save-the-date announcement is here, details to follow.

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