ARPEGE: New €17m French Consortium tackles economics, diagnostics, and therapeutics

Dear All,

On 6 Jan 2022, we had the announcement of the creation of in France of the ARPEGE consortium (AppRoche théraPeutique Economique & diaGnostique de l’antibiorésistancE) or “Economic, diagnostic and therapeutic approach to antibiotic resistance.” Somebody definitely had fun with that acronym! Here’s what you need to know:

  • The French government is providing €9m of the €17m project budget
    • The full press release is here
  • The project has 4 partners and 4 main projects
    • Toulouse School of Economics (TSE) (academic home of Nobel Laureate Jean Tirole) will work to develop new economic models capable of sustainably enhancing the value of innovations that are needed for AMR
    • Hospices Civils de Lyon (HCL) jointly with its International Centre for Infectious Disease Research (CIRI) will develop tools to prevent bacterial transmission in hospitals through early and automated detection of
      epidemics and potential at-risk situations
    • BioMerieux will use sequencing-based software to support new-generation susceptibility testing that would inform antibiotic prescribing
    • Last but not least, Antabio will progress its preclinical therapeutic programs towards Phase 1


Well done to Marc Lemonnier and team at Antabio (they are the consortium leader) for working with Bpifrance to create this project!

It is very good to see the French government supporting this four-pronged program … in particular, the idea of additional economic thinking is a welcome addition to the global conversation. Jean Tirole’s Nobel-winning (2014) work on Game Theory and the way that markets really work would seem to hold substantial potential for further articulating the need for effective Pull incentives.

Per a sidebar conversation with Pierre Dubois (Professor of Economics at TSE), the economic project within ARPEGE will investigate “collective mechanisms that can ensure that all countries have an interest in reforming their business model. As global warming has shown, the economic incentives to free ride are often stronger than the long-term collective interest, but the work done by economists can help policy makers by suggesting mechanisms allowing to align individual incentives with collective interest.”

Well, that really is the problem in a nutshell! It is certainly intriguing to see a new perspective on the tension created by the need to create new antibiotics while also using them as little as possible. For more on Jean Tirole’s work, this article in Britannica is very good as is this summary from the Washington Post; please also be sure to review the call for Pull from the G7 finance minsters in the 14 Dec 2021 newsletter

With the UK NHS England’s pilot “Netflix” project well underway, the PASTEUR Act showing signs of progress in the US, and the EU also calling for Pull, the addition of ARPEGE shows how global momentum is building!

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 (most current list is here):

  • [NEW] JPIAMR’s 14th call is now open. Entitled “Disrupting drug resistance using innovative design”, the call seeks consortia that would seek to “improve the treatment of bacterial and fungal infections (including co-infection) and/or the prevention of the emergence/spread of resistance in humans, animals or plants through the improvement of the efficacy, specificity, delivery, combinations and/or repurposing of drugs and plant protection agents.” Bacteria, fungi, human health, animal health, and plant health are all in scope! Pre-proposals are due 8 Mar 2022; full proposals would be due 5 July 2022. Go here for details.
  • The AMR Action Fund is now open to proposals for funding of Phase 2 / Phase 3 antibacterial therapeutics. Per its charter, the fund prioritizes investment in treatments that address a pathogen prioritized by the WHO, the CDC and/or other public health entities that: (i) are novel (e.g., absence of known cross-resistance, novel targets, new chemical classes, or new mechanisms of action); and/or (ii) have significant differentiated clinical utility (e.g., differentiated innovation that provides clinical value versus standard of care to prescribers and patients, such as safety/tolerability, oral formulation, different spectrum of activity); and (iii) reduce patient mortality. It is also expected that such agents would have the potential to strongly address the likely requirements for delinked Pull incentives such as the UK (NHS England) subscription pilot and the PASTEUR Act in the US. Submit queries to contact@amractionfund.com.
  • INCATE (Incubator for Antibacterial Therapies in Europe) is a newly launched early-stage funding vehicle. Details are still coming into focus, but per comments on 25 Aug 2021 at the BIOCOM conference, their goal is to support ~4 companies per year with about $250k/company. Contact details are on their website (https://www.incate.net/).
  • 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.
  • It’s not a funder, but AiCuris’ AiCubator offers incubator support to very early stage projects. Read more about it here.
  • The Global AMR R&D Hub’s dynamic dashboard (link) summarizes the global clinical development pipeline, incentives for AMR R&D, and investors/investments in AMR R&D.
  • In addition to the lists provided by the Global AMR R&D Hub, you might also be interested in my 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):

  • [If you missed it, you can now watch the video] 8 Dec: “The New Winds Pushing and Pulling Antibacterial Development.” This was a GREAT program that featured talks from the UK team behind the NHS “Netflix” pilot, Kevin Outterson’s recently released report documenting the need for global Pull incentives to have a value of $2.2 – 4.8b, and speakers covering PASTEUR and work in the EU on pull incentives. The video is here — please make time to listen to this program!
  • [NEW] 19 Jan 2022 (virtual): REVIVE (GARDP) Webinar: Target candidate profiles and target product profiles for new antimicrobials. Moderated by Sumati Nambiar, the program will cover perspectives on new agents both from WHO and Industry. Go here to register.
  • [NEW] 26 Jan 2022 (virtual, 2-3.30p CET): REVIVE (GARDP) Webinar: New technologies and strategies to overcome the challenges of sexually transmitted infections. Moderated by Amir Schroufi and Remco Peters, the program will covers strategies for managing STDs with a particular focus on the developing world. Go here to register.
  • 2-3 Feb 2022 (virtual): 10th Advances Against Aspergillosis and Mucormycocosis. Registration closes on 30 Jan 2022. Go here for details.
  • 2-3 Feb 2022 (virtual): Antimicrobial Chemotherapy Virtual Conference jointly organised by GARDP with the British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy (BSAC), Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy (CDDEP) and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). Click here for details.
  • 3-6 Mar 2022 (Albuquerque, New Mexico): Biannual meeting of the MSGERC (Mycoses Study Group Education and Research Consortium). Details are here.
  • 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.
  • [NEW] 9 Mar 2022 (virtual, and in-person): BioInfect Conference, Alderley Park, UK (near Manchester). This long-running Bionow-sponsored annual conference draws a very strong audience. Go here for details.
  • 7-8 Apr 2022 (Basel and in person, we hope): The 6th edition of the annual AMR conference sponsored by the BEAM AllianceCARB-X, the Novo REPAIR Impact Fund, the IMI Accelerator, and the European Biotechnology Network. Go here for the hold-the-date page and a way to be kept informed about the meeting. 
  • 9-13 May 2022 (Athens and online): 40th Annual Meeting of the European Society for Paediatric Infectious Diseases, Go here for details.
  • 20-24 Sep 2022 (New Delhi): 21st Congress of the International Society for Human and Animal Mycology (ISHAM). Go here for details.
  • 25-28 Oct 2022 (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.

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