Incentivising the development of new antibacterial treatments

  09 June 2022

Today’s antibiotics are characterised by an insecure supply chain for existing generic products and a lack of new and innovative products entering the market. Unless action is taken now, we are set to enter an era where routine operations and infections pose a real danger to our lives.

Bringing a new antibiotic to market is a scientifically challenging and resourceintensive endeavour with a relatively low return on investment. As a result, major pharmaceutical companies have backed away from antibiotic development, and the enterprises remaining in the space struggle to sustain their operations. This is reflected in the fact that over the last three decades, no new ground-breaking antibacterial treatments have reached the market for Gram-negative bacteria. According to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) most recent report “2021 antibacterial agents in clinical and preclinical development: an overview and analysis”, only 79 new antibacterial treatments are in development. But most are derivates of existing antibiotic classes, and the majority are unlikely to make it to the market.

Author(s): Global AMR R&D Hub and WHO
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