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New Campaign Focuses on Fighting Superbugs

WASHINGTON, Aug. 21, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Leading scientists, public policy experts, and biotech industry leaders joined forces today to launch "Working to Fight AMR," a coalition working to raise public awareness of the growing threat posed by antimicrobial resistance. Working to Fight AMR will also advocate for policies that catalyze the creation of new medicines.

"Superbugs" -- those bacteria and fungi that are resistant to antimicrobials -- kill as many as 162,000 Americans each year, making antimicrobial resistance the third-leading cause of death in the country. Absent new, more effective antibiotics, that death toll could rise to 10 million annually worldwide by 2050.

"Antimicrobial resistance already poses a grave threat to human health – and it is a looming public health emergency," said Greg Frank, Ph.D., director of infectious disease policy at the Biotechnology Innovation Organization. "Working to Fight AMR will advocate for policies that create a sustainable ecosystem and boost investment in this deeply neglected area." Frank is heading up the coalition.

Scientists have developed only one truly novel antibiotic since 1984. For most companies, investing in AMR research does not make sense, as new treatments would be used sparingly. Companies risk not generating enough revenue to recoup development costs. Globally, just 1 percent of experimental medicines aim to fight bacterial infections.

In addition to educating the public, Working to Fight AMR will advocate for policies, like the DISARM Act and pull incentives, that slow the spread of superbugs and incentivize companies to research and develop new antimicrobials.

Numerous industry leaders are lending their expertise to the coalition, including:

  • Aleks Engel, Ph.D., director of REPAIR Impact Fund at Novo Holdings;
  • Julie Louise Gerberding, M.D., M.P.H., former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and executive vice president and chief patient officer at Merck;
  • Eric Kimble, chief commercial officer at Entasis Therapeutics;
  • Werner Lanthaler, Ph.D., CEO at Evotec;
  • Evan Loh, M.D., CEO at Paratek Pharmaceuticals and chairman of the Antimicrobials Working Group;
  • Kevin Outterson, J.D., co-director of the health law program and professor at Boston University School of Law;
  • Ruben Tommasi, Ph.D., chief scientific officer at Entasis Therapeutics;
  • Zachary Zimmerman, Ph.D., CEO at Forge Therapeutics.

"We're eager to mobilize this diverse community of stakeholders, including patients, to implement practical policy solutions to combat superbugs," Frank added. "Together, we can save millions of lives."

About Working to Fight AMR
Working to Fight AMR is a coalition of leading scientists, public policy experts, and biotech industry leaders that seeks to raise public awareness of the threat posed by superbugs. A project of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization, the group advocates for policies that catalyze the creation of new antimicrobials.

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SOURCE Biotechnology Innovation Organization