Where’s the innovation? / Indian Priority Pathogen List / DTR video explainer

Dear All,

Three things briefly this evening:

First, the observation about the limited degree of innovation across products in Phases 1-3 in the recent newsletter about the Pew Pipeline review (only 1 in 4 are novel classes or novel mechanisms; none are potentially active against Gram-negative ESKAPE pathogens or WHO critical threat pathogens) generated queries along the lines of “Eh? Where’s the innovation?”

Well, the innovation is in the preclinical pipeline. As a global community, we really began pushing for novelty with projects such as TRANSLOCATION and ENABLE in ND4BB (2013-14), the creation of CARB-X in 2016, and then the Novo REPAIR Impact Fund, JPIAMR, and more (see the Global AMR R&D Hub’s dashboard) … and you have to expect it to take 10+ years for that sort of work to come to fruition. Encouragingly, early signs are promising: this 24 Nov 2019 newsletter discussed a review by Theuretzbacher et al. of a preclinical review that noted 135 projects on direct-acting small molecules that represented new classes, new targets, or new mechanisms of action. Most of these will fail (that’s the nature of R&D), but this degree of diversity and risk-taking is exciting to see!

Second, India is now deeply engaged on AMR. As part of their National Action Plan, they have created their own Indian Priority Pathogen List. I’ve added it to the Pathogens and Pipelines summary webpage and also updated the accompanying Power Point deck that summarizes all the PPLs to date (India 2021, CDC 2019, WHO 2017, CDC 2013, ESKAPE 2008-9). The Indian list is very similar to the WHO list with the intriguing addition of coagulase-negative Staphylococci to the Medium Priority category. No details are given, but I’d guess this is related to neonatal sepsis. 18 Mar 2021 addendum: I’ve also now realized that the Indian PPL swaps Neisseria gonorrhoeae (WHO High Priority) for N. meningitidis (Indian Medium Priority).

Third, and while we’re talking about bugs and drugs, I’ve just released a 5-minute YouTube explainer on the ideas of UDR, MDR, XDR, and DTR, all of which are fundamental to making wise choices about your research direction! If these ideas (especially DTR) are new to you, please also read this 13 Jan 2019 newsletter.

Stay safe, –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 (most current list is here):

  • The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Applicant Assistance Program (AAP) provides no cost support for companies planning to apply for a Phase II, Fast Track, or Direct-to-Phase II SBIR or STTR Award. Go here for details.
  • Novo REPAIR Impact Fund closed its most recent round on 31 Jul 2020. Go here for current details.
  • CARB-X recently announced that their existing resources will be reserved to fund their existing portfolio (more than 80 total awards, and counting, as they include contracting from prior rounds). New rounds from CARB-X will occur only after new funding is obtained in 2021.
  • The Global AMR R&D Hub’s dynamic dashboard (link) summarizes funders and projects by geography, stage, and more.
  • It’s not a funder, but AiCuris’ AiCubator offers incubator support to very early stage projects. Read more about it here.
  • Finally, you might also be interested in the most current lists of R&D incentives (link) and priority pathogens (link)


Upcoming meetings of interest to the AMR community (most current list is here):

  • 15-18 Mar 2021 (virtual, EU afternoon timing): The Uppsala Health Summit is focusing this year on “Managing Antimicrobial Resistance through Behaviour Change.” This is a multi-disciplinary and multi-stakeholder (policy, industry, academia, civil society) program that focuses on a different topic each year. Go here to for more details.
  • 24 Mar 2021 (online, 2.30-4p CET): GARDP-sponsored webinar entitled “Discovering and developing new treatments for tuberculosis,” moderated by Lydia Nakiyingi. Go here to register.
  • 20-22 April 2021 (online, 1-5p CET): JPIAMR-sponsored workshop entitled “Feeding the Antimicrobial Therapeutics Pipeline.” JPIAMR, the collaborative global effort of 28 countries (much of the EU and also Argentina, Canada, Egypt, Israel, Japan, Korea, South Africa, and Turkey), is organizing a mixture of keynote talks, abstract presentations, and discussion panels designed to encourage collaborative antibiotic R&D. Go here for more details and registration. Abstract deadline is March 17th 2021; no previous JPIAMR funding required.
  • 9-12 Jul 2021 (virtual): Annual ECCMID meeting (#31)
  • 10-12 May 2021 (virtual): UK-focused Virtual AMR Innovation Mission sponsored by Innovate UK in collaboration with AMR Insights and Oxford innovation. This free 3-day virtual event seeks to connect AMR-focused start-ups, SMEs and Multinationals, Academia, Research Institutes, Regional Development Companies and other interested stakeholders in the UK, Europe and other parts of the world. It will be followed (COVID-willing!) by a face-to-face mission scheduled for 11-15 Oct 2021. Go here for more details.
  • 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.
  • 24-29 May 2021 (online and in Geneva): ESPID 2021, the 39th Annual Meeting of the European Society for Paediatric Infectious Diseases. 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.
  • 20-24 Jun 2021 (virtual, various times): World Microbe Forum sponsored by the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) and the Federation of European Microbiological Societies (FEMS). Go here for more details and to register.
  • 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.
  • 14-29 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.
  • 11-15 Oct 2021 (physical, somewhere in the UK): UK-focused Innovation Mission sponsored by Innovate UK in collaboration with AMR Insights and Oxford innovation. This free event seeks to connect AMR-focused start-ups, SMEs and Multinationals, Academia, Research Institutes, Regional Development Companies and other interested stakeholders in the UK, Europe and other parts of the world. Go here for more 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. Bonus feature: For obvious reasons, the course didn’t happen in 2020! But as a celebration of the course’s 5th year, a webinar version was held on 29 Oct 2020: go here to stream it. 
  • 25-28 Oct 2021 (Stellenbosch, South Africa): The University of Cape Town’s H3D Research Centre will celebrate its 10th anniversary with a symposium covering the Centre’s research on Malaria, TB, Neglected Tropical Diseases, and AMR. Go here to register.
  • 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.

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