MSP has gathered together global leaders working on the problem posed by our diminishing supply of antibiotics for an event at the EuroScience Open Forum (ESOF) .
Leading figures from business, academia and public health discussed antimicrobial resistance (AMR), which already claims some 25,000 lives a year in Europe and is projected to get much worse. A UK government review recently expressed fears the failure of our existing supply of antibiotics will result in 10 million extra deaths a year around the world by 2050.
MSP’s Alderley Park campus is home to one of Europe’s largest clusters of SME’s focused on AMR.
At the Masterclass on AMR Rowena Burns, chief executive of MSP, told ESOF delegates: “Despite the global health crisis around drug resistance this area has been hugely under-funded and is in dire need of new commercial models.
“We are now seeing these challenges being talked about and addressed in the form of public-private partnerships such as the new AMR Centre, which we were very pleased to welcome to Alderley Park. But there is a great deal more that needs to happen to incentivise innovation in terms of novel therapies and developing diagnostics, which would help minimise overuse. There is also a massive global problem around the behaviour of both patients and physicians which has taken us down the path of overuse of antibiotics.
“Alderley Park has a leading cluster for companies focussed on AMR, with a great deal of resource and capability in the shape of the new AMR Centre, Redx Pharma Plc, Absynth, and Blueberry Therapeutics on site. EOSF has been a great opportunity to share the work these scientists and others are doing on what is a priority area for global health.”
Other speakers at the AMR Masterclass included Professor Kevin Outterson of Boston University, who is leading a key AMR project in the USA. He made a plea for “more shots on goal” in terms of getting promising research out of universities and a radical change in how antibiotics are sold. Kevin Outterson also called for global collaboration in tackling the issue, observing that “bacteria don’t need passports.” He also cited examples of best practice in public health around the world, including Sweden, “where they are very careful with infection control.”
Dr Peter Jackson, chair of the steering group behind the AMR Centre, based at Alderley Park also spoke to delegates. “We are moving into a new era. The international health community has stopped just talking about the AMR problem – and started working on ways to solve this crisis.
“The AMR Centre is itself part of the UK’s response and our mission is to accelerate a new pipeline of treatments and diagnostics. We will do this by providing funding, capability and capacity to support partner organisations, in particular small and medium-sized businesses and research institutes, which have exciting new approaches to AMR.”
The AMR Centre will employ 75 scientists at Alderley Park by the end of its first full year of operation. It is expected to put five new programs into pre-clinical development in 2016-2017 – and 20 in total by 2022.
MSP is one of principal sponsors ESOF, which has attracted some 4,500 scientists from more than 90 countries to Manchester and is taking place in the UK for the first time.