Report shows life sciences industry alliance is taking action to curb antimicrobial resistance, with more to come
- The new AMR Industry Alliance of more than 100 biotech, diagnostics, generics and research-based biopharmaceutical companies and trade associations launches its first progress report today. The report measures action taken in four areas: research and science, access, appropriate use, and the environment.
- In 2016, the report shows that 22 Alliance companies invested at least USD 2 billion in R&D dedicated to AMR-related products. The funds cover costs for early-stage R&D, exploring new product classes, ten antibiotics in late-stage clinical development, 13 clinical bacterial vaccine candidates, 18 AMR-relevant diagnostic products, and other preventive therapies.
- More than two out of three Alliance companies surveyed with marketed AMR products, have strategies, policies or plans in place to improve access to their AMR-relevant products.
- The Alliance is appealing to policy makers to draw from the evidence provided in this report, and invites stakeholders to work more systematically with the life sciences industry, to find sustainable solutions to tackling antimicrobial resistance.
- The Alliance plans to give further impetus to industry efforts to curb AMR by increasing levels of response in the next progress report in 2020.
Geneva, 18 January 2018 – Today, the AMR Industry Alliance launches its first report that shows the commitment of the life sciences industry to tackle the public health threat of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). The Alliance brings together over 100 biotech, diagnostics, generics and research-based biopharmaceutical companies and trade associations from 20 countries. The report was compiled by the consultancy SustainAbility. The data and case studies collected in the Alliance report provide unique insights into the practical steps members are taking to respond to AMR in the areas of research and science, access, appropriate use, and the environment. The report presents data on AMR-relevant products, including therapeutic agents or technologies that have the potential to treat or prevent infectious diseases and/or combat resistance, including but not limited to antibiotics, vaccines, diagnostics, and novel approaches to address AMR. The Alliance showcases industry’s efforts and commitment to fulfil its role as a necessary and constructive partner in finding sustainable solutions to tackle AMR.
Today, an estimated 700,000 people die each year because of the growing number of potentially deadly infectious pathogens. These include pathogens that cause tuberculosis, HIV, malaria, and staph infections, which have developed resistance to treatment regimens. AMR has the potential to turn back the clock on modern medicine. In response to this public health threat and its social and economic consequences, the United Nations in 2016 called for concerted action from governments and various sectors to address the implications of AMR. The AMR Industry Alliance is the life sciences industry’s response to this call for action.
“This first report is ground-breaking for several reasons,” explains Thomas Cueni, chair of the Alliance. “It is unique in that the companies have committed to walk the talk together and report on their progress. It is the first industry-wide grouping of this scale that has been set up to respond to the AMR emergency.”
This first progress report has aggregated data from 36 companies from all four categories represented in the Alliance: all research-based biopharmaceutical companies (11 out of 11), half of the generics (3 out of 6), one third of diagnostics members (5 out of 15), and one quarter (17 out of 68) of SMEs provided input. The Alliance is committed to reporting progress every two years. It is also dedicated to refining its approach to better address the challenges for its members in responding, so that it can achieve greater participation than seen in this first report.
The submitted data provides considerable insight into private sector efforts to curb AMR and shows that “broadly the Alliance membership is already active and making positive contributions to the challenge of AMR, even though there is a long way to go – on full Alliance participation and greater gains against AMR,” said Denise Delaney, Director at SustainAbility.
Research and science: The report confirms a broad commitment to research by companies in 2016. At least USD 2 billion in R&D was dedicated to AMR-related products in 2016. This is a conservative number as it corresponds to the data provided by only 22 companies. These investments cover R&D-related costs for early-stage R&D exploring new product classes, ten antibiotics in late-stage clinical development, 13 clinical bacterial vaccine candidates, and 18 AMR-relevant diagnostic products, as well as other preventive therapies. A majority of Alliance companies viewed R&D incentives as either “promising but with far to go” or “insufficient relative to the challenge.”
Access: While vast amounts of antimicrobials, especially antibiotics, go to waste on patients and animals who do not need them, almost six million people die each year from infections, because they lack access to these medicines. The Alliance supports protecting the efficacy of antibiotics and making them available, where necessary, to every human being. More than two out of three Alliance companies surveyed with marketed AMR products have strategies, policies or plans in place, which include principles or efforts to improve access to their AMR-relevant products. A similar number of companies are engaged in dialogue with external stakeholders on improving access to their AMR relevant products. Many of the Alliance generics and R&D-based biopharmaceutical companies with AMR-relevant products believe more work is needed to determine how to balance expanding access with appropriate use, reduce falsified products, and work with other stakeholders to address access issues in low and middle income countries.
Appropriate use: Over 80% of all responding companies are engaged in activities to support appropriate use, while nearly half of the responding companies have a formal appropriate use strategy in place. Nearly 90% of responding companies – and 70% of those with AMR-relevant marketed products – are planning to, currently collecting or support the collection of surveillance data. More than half of the responding companies are planning to, or are currently engaged in, stewardship education activities, directly or collaboratively. This number increases to 70% for those companies with a marketed AMR-relevant product. However, it is broadly acknowledged that there is a considerable way to go, and the potential of vaccines and diagnostics is not yet fully explored.
Manufacturing and the environment: Alliance companies, particularly those that made bold commitments in the Roadmap, are taking action to reduce the potential impacts of antibiotics manufacturing on AMR. One third of the Alliance companies that produce antibiotics currently have a strategy, policy or plan in place to address the issue of the release of antibiotics in their own manufacturing effluent that may contribute to AMR. Three quarters of them anticipate the implementation of good practice methods to reduce environmental impact of manufacturing discharge by 2018, well ahead of the 2020 target. The report also features a newly drafted common framework for managing antibiotic discharge across company supply chains.
Progress report: https://www.amrindustryalliance.org/progress-report/
About the AMR Industry Alliance
The AMR Industry Alliance is a coalition of over 100 biotechnology, diagnostic, generics and research-based biopharmaceutical companies and trade associations that was formed to drive and measure industry progress to curb antimicrobial resistance. The AMR Industry Alliance ensures that signatories collectively deliver on the specific commitments made in the Industry Declaration on AMR and the Roadmap and measures progress made in the fight against antimicrobial resistance.
SustainAbility is a consultancy and think tank enabling business to lead on the sustainability agenda.
|Morgane De Pol
+41 22 338 32 20
Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO)
Medicines for Europe
+32 2 2392019
|Danielle M. Blake
+33 6 50 01 15 33
This latest progress report from the AMR Industry Alliance is encouraging and proves that our industry has taken many important steps to finding the solutions needed to combat antimicrobial resistance. As the report illustrates, biotechnology companies across the globe are investing in innovative R&D approaches – both antibiotic and non-antibiotic – and are focused on developing powerful drugs and novel tactics to fight against AMR. On behalf of BIO and our member companies, I look forward to continuing our partnership with the Alliance as we work to end this growing threat to global public health and beyond.
We are encouraged by progress to date by the AMR Industry Alliance in the fight against antimicrobial resistance, as a coordinated global approach is critical in solving one of the most complex health issues of our time. We look forward to continued collaboration with our health care partners to address the significant challenges we are facing with innovative solutions, including unleashing the potential of diagnostic tests to improve appropriate use of antibiotics.
Health security is an essential component of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), this includes epidemics and antimicrobial resistance. There has been considerable support on the need to address preparedness and responsiveness to global health crisis, health systems strengthening, and antimicrobial resistance (AMR). If we want to accelerate the process of implementing the SDGs in these areas, we need to find ways to engage with the private sector. The AMR Industry Alliance is an important step, not least because it is a first concrete initiative that measures what is being done by the life science industry to tackle the specific challenges presented by AMR for public health. We look forward to continue to serve as a platform to allow a multistakeholder involvement for AMR.
Industry’s role in addressing drug-resistant infections is critical and it is heartening to see many companies stepping-up to help tackle this global health threat. The early stages of the treatment pipeline are now benefitting from partnership and investment by industry, civil society and government. But without urgent action to also address the broken economic model for later clinical development, this progress is under threat. The report makes clear that without new incentives, biopharmaceutical companies are likely to reduce antibiotic research and development investment. Wellcome wants to see government and industry work together to develop and implement workable incentives, which must include measures to ensure new treatments are used appropriately, effectively and are available to all who need them.
The AMR Industry Alliance report is a key milestone in cementing industry commitment to tackling this global challenge in a collaborative manner. In fighting AMR, the right balance should be found between facilitating access while ensuring appropriate use. This can only be achieved by multiple stakeholders working together to define the principles of appropriate use, which ensures that public health remains safe-guarded. Patients who need antibiotic medicines should be able to have access to the appropriate treatment they need to get better. Equally, medical professionals need to be able to choose from a wide range of antibiotics to provide optimal treatment for their patients. The AMR Industry Alliance, and Medicines for Europe as member, is committed to being part of this dialogue, and taking action which we hope will change the tide on AMR.
Antimicrobial resistance is a developmental issue that threatens our very survival. Yet, momentum is increasing, and the progress made within one year of the UN Political Declaration is phenomenal. To respond to the challenges of AMR, industry, governments and other relevant stakeholders must collaborate on new initiatives for the good of public health. This call to action by the AMR Industry Alliance is coming at a crucial time that could support the recommendations of the Interagency Coordination Group to the UN Secretary General. If we are to curb AMR, we must all work together.
The private sector has a crucial role to play in addressing drug-resistant superbugs globally. It is encouraging to see commitment and concrete examples of progress from 36 companies —but much more needs to be done within the private sector to help address this complex challenge. We must continue to make the case for action and work across all sectors, countries and professions if we are to have any chance of success.
The first AMR Industry Alliance Progress Report demonstrates the commitment of the research-based biopharmaceutical companies to bring much-needed positive momentum to curb AMR. Notwithstanding a challenging innovation environment and the current lack of economic incentives, the results of the report underline the crucial role of the private sector investments in research and development to respond to the challenges of AMR, with several antibiotics and vaccines currently in late stages of development. While the report clearly demonstrates the importance of partnerships and cross-sector collaboration, R&D biopharmaceutical companies, generics, SMEs, and diagnostics, it also highlights that much more needs to be done. To deliver sustainable solutions, ensuring cooperation with all stakeholders, including governments and international organizations, is the only viable way forward in the fight against AMR.