Beyond the AMR Action Fund: PBS NewsHour and Things for us all to do!

Dear All (and with thanks to Kevin Outterson for co-authoring this newsletter),

While we’re all thrilled with the announcement of the AMR Action Fund (newsletter), we’ve also had in parallel a demonstration of why the fund alone is insufficient to solve the antibiotic innovation crisis (newsletter on withdrawal of plazomicin’s marketing application in Europe).

Thus, it’s a good time to talk about next steps. AMR is complex but actions that would matter are within the grasp of our community. As a start for today, let’s consider 2 powerful themes that are open to immediate action by us all:

#1: Tell the story!

  • As one idea, we can start with the recent excellent 2-part PBS News Hour story on AMR hosted by Paul Solman. Please watch and then share these clips:
    • 29 Jul 2020: “As a virus ravages the world, antibiotic makers are in disarray”: link
    • 30 Jul 2020: “How a crumbling antibiotics infrastructure could yield catastrophe”: link
  • And in case you missed the prior video reports by PBS:
    • 22 Oct 2013 (PBS Frontline): “Hunting the nightmare bacteria” (link)
    • 2 Aug 2017 (PBS NewHour): “We are running out of effective antibiotics”: link
    • 3 Aug 2017 (PBS NewHour): “The financial barrier” (link)
    • 4 Aug 2017 (PBS NewHour): “Is there an economic cure for the problem?” (link)
    • 9 Aug 2017 (PBS NewHour) “How industrial farming techniques can breed superbugs” (link)
    • 10 Aug 2017 (PBS NewHour): “The economic reason this chicken producer gave up antibiotics” (link)
  • In short, share the story widely (and in non-technical language) with folks outside our AMR bubble!
    • A great place for ideas is the data from Wellcome Trust’s exploration of language that really works (link).
    • The key idea is to talk about how AMR impacts your life and work, what you’re doing to address it, and what specific efforts are needed by others.
  • You can do this by…
  • For more detailed ideas to share, look also at the list in the 5 May 2019 newsletter about the collapse of Achaogen (link):
    • Timely guideline updates from professional societies
    • Updated health technology assessment approaches (the UK continues to lead here; link)
    • Action by political leadership
  • If nothing else, let’s all start using #FireExtinguishersOfMedicine in our tweets … it’s such a simple but powerful meme! 


#2:  Support calls for substantial post-approval Pull Incentives from the G7, if not (most of) the G20

  • Making Pull Incentives happen is the most efficient way to drive the overall ecosystem!
    • Without lifetime Pull Incentives of $1-$4b for really innovative new drugs (see this newsletter for the math), private investment and expertise in antibiotic development will disappear
    • We’re already seeing this: companies with approved products are already going bankrupt. In effect, you will be able see new drugs but not have them.
    • The G7 countries could deliver the bulk of the needed Pull Incentives, but adding the G20 countries (India, China) would make a powerful difference.
  • These Pull Incentives are especially needed to provide the funding after initial approval that supports the costs of keeping a drug on the market and of the additional data packages needed to inform appropriate use.
    • Initial approval is at most the half-way point in a drug’s development and we must make it possible (indeed, desirable) for the developer to generate those data that make a difference (e.g., pediatrics).


Get to it, use that #FireExtinguishersOfMedicine hashtag, and stay safe!

All best wishes, John & Kevin

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: All opinions are my own.

Kevin Outterson, JD, Professor of Law, Boston University & Executive Director, CARB-X (these views are personal and do not necessarily reflect the views of CARB-X or any of its funders) @koutterson  

Current funding opportunities:

  • Novo REPAIR Impact Fund closed its most recent round on 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:

  • 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.
  • [NEW] 7 Aug 2020 (online, 3-7.30p BST): The Longitude Prize Sprint Workshop entitled “Navigating MedTech Regulation Pathways in Developed and Emerging Markets”. Register here for this deep-dive into regional variations in the rules for devices.
  • 17 Aug 2020 (online, 1-2.30p EST): ASM Microbe 2020, Industry & Science program. Go here for details.
  • 24-28 Aug 2020 (online, 9.45a-18.30p CEST daily): BEAM Alliance-sponsored AMR Conference. 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.
  • 21-25 Oct 2019 (online meeting), IDWeek 2020. 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)
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • [NEW] 27 Jun-2 Jul 2021 (Ventura, CA): Gordon Research Conference entitled “Antimicrobial Peptides”. Go here for details, go here for the linked 26-27 Jun Gordon Research Seminar that precedes it.
  • 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.
  • [NEW] 6-11 Mar 2022 (Il Ciocco, Tuscany): Gordon Research Conference entitled “New Antibacterial Discovery and Development”. Go here for details, go here for the linked 5-6 Mar Gordon Research Seminar that precedes it.


17 April 2023: FREE Masterclass from FDA / CARB-X wants you!

Dear All, Two quick items today. First, FDA have announced an Antimicrobial Drugs Advisory Committee on 17 April 2023 (9a-4.30p ET). The committee will “discuss new drug application (NDA) 216974, for sulbactam-durlobactam for injection, submitted by Entasis Therapeutics, Inc. The Applicant’s proposed indication is for the treatment of infections due to Acinetobacter baumannii-calcoaceticus complex including multidrug-resistant and

WHO 2023 Pipeline Update: Share Your Preclinical Antibacterial Projects!

Dear All, As you know, WHO updates their preclinical and clinical pipeline summaries at regular intervals. The most current reviews are summarized on These excellent summaries are invaluable for researchers of all types and are also used to inform policy work. There is now a call to for current information on antibacterial pre-clinical projects. Go here

PASTEUR: Sign a letter to make it happen this year!

Dear All, As all regular readers of this newsletter know, I think that creation of suitable Pull incentives by passage of the PASTEUR Act in the United States is THE key to building a vibrant pipeline of products to address the international problem of AMR. PASTEUR came very close to passage at the end of 2022 …

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