The last new class of antibiotic was discovered in 1984, the end of the ‘golden era’ of antibiotics. From the early 1990s, countless antimicrobial discovery programmes were abandoned. There are multiple reasons for this, including complex science, lack of sufficient return on investment, regulatory issues, and changes in the R&D priorities of the pharmaceutical sector.
There is an urgent need for new antimicrobial treatments to tackle growing drug-resistance. With technological advances and radical changes in the science it may be possible to revive some long-forgotten compounds. Expert knowledge – the know-how and experience to bring these projects back to life – is critical to achieving this.
At the same time, exploratory research with dedicated programmes to support the discovery of novel antimicrobials is a priority need. Efforts are needed across novel discovery, re-purposing of antibiotics, and the development of new agents. There is a particular need to focus on public health priorities.
GARDP’s antimicrobial memory recovery and evaluation, and discovery and exploratory research programmes, aim to help meet these urgent interlinked needs.
Discovery and exploratory research
The aim of the antimicrobial discovery and exploratory programme is to use innovative approaches to identify and validate a portfolio of antimicrobial candidates for future development as sustainable treatment options. Its focus is on bacteria identified in the WHO’s priority pathogen list, in particular on unmet needs that may not be prioritised by the private sector.
Objective, by 2023
Antimicrobial memory recovery and evaluation
The aim of this programme is to recover the knowledge, data, and assets of forgotten, or abandoned antibiotics. Reviving those projects means working with the experts who investigated the molecules and training and supporting a new generation of antibiotic discovery researchers and developers.
Objectives, by 2023
- facilitate learning – including face-to-face workshops at conferences, as well as online open-access webinars, blogs and training materials
- connect people – including linking new researchers with world-class experts
- share knowledge, including the development of an ‘antimicrobial toolbox’ which will contain links to online databases of bacterial and fungal strains, whole genome sequences, undeveloped antimicrobials, and pre-clinical and clinical pipelines.
GARDP has engaged more than 120 world-class experts in the programmes, and launched REVIVE in January 2018, including webinars, blogs, and workshops at key conferences. GARDP has also engaged ten companies to share knowledge of their assets, with 20 ‘recovered’ molecules being actively explored. As a result of ongoing evaluation, it is anticipated that up to two additional drug development projects may be initiated in 2019.
A snapshot of the R&D:
Building the GARDP portfolio programme
A snapshot of the REVIVE programme
February 2019 – The REPAIR Impact Fund: Reflections from the first year By Aleks Engel
February 2019 – Turning the tide on R&D – WHO launches first data call to review pre-clinical pipeline to tackle antibiotic resistance By Sarah Paulin and Peter Beyer
February 2019 – Time to pull out all the stops in the fight against superbugs By Kevin Outterson
January 2019 – Why we need to prioritize developing antibiotics for children By Manica Balasegaram
December 2018 – Recent approvals – do they make a difference? By Ursula Theuretzbacher
November 2018 – More than one model to stimulate antimicrobial drug development By Lord Jim O’Neill
- Health Policy Watch: “React Africa 2019: Universal Health Coverage Can Help Combat Antimicrobial Resistance” 30 July 2019
- European Biotechnology: “GARDP wants five AMR breakers by 2025” 2 July 2019
- Soko Directory: “WHO Unveils Tool to Accelerate Action against Antimicrobial Resistance” 19 June 2019
- Books and Ideas: “The Politics of Antibiotics An interview with Ramanan Laxminarayan” 30 May 2019
- Science Speaks: “World Health Assembly 2019: As antibiotic pipeline diminishes, time runs out for patients” 22 May 2019
- Forbes: “Antimicrobial Resistance Is Being Called A Sustainable Development Issue” 9 May 2019
- Medium: “As Big Pharma Abandons Antibiotic Research, Scientists Turn to Graves, Lizards, and Fungus for New Cures” 1 May 2019
- News Medical: “United Nations sounds alarm bell on drug-resistant infections” 30 April 2019
- Health Policy Watch: “GARDP Set Up As Independent Legal Entity” 2 April 2019
- The Guardian: “New antibiotics could be developed using fish slime, scientists say” 29 March 2019
Analysis of the clinical antibacterial and antituberculosis pipeline. The Lancet Infectious Diseases, October 2018
by Theuretzbacher U, Gottwalt S, Beyer P, Butler M, Czaplewski L, Lienhardt C, Moja L, Paul M, Paulin S, Rex JH, Silver LL, Spigelman M, Thwaites GE, Paccaud JP, Harbarth S.