As stated by the Director-General of the WHO, “AMR is a slow tsunami that threatens to undo a century of medical progress”. The European Investment Bank (EIB), Wellcome Trust, WHO & private sector recently collaborated on the creation of an investment fund to support the development of two to four new antibacterial treatments by 2030. This targeted “AMR Action Fund”, launched by over 20 leading pharmaceutical enterprises, responds to the urgent need to address the AMR public health threat. The concept has already been mentioned at renowned global health conferences including the World Health Summit, the World AMR Congress, and Biocom AMR Conference.

The WHO had been discussing the creation of an impact investment fund to address the crisis in antibacterial treatment development since 2018. The Fund has already performed a financial risk assessment, analyzed the success rates and potential financial return on investment if novel treatments were to be launched. The WHO’s input on financial strategy was useful to set up the Fund and the WHO played a key role in the establishment of relations between the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations, the EIB, and Wellcome Trust.

The Fund will serve to invest in small antibiotics companies who struggle to currently survive the pharmaceutical market environment. It is well known that developing new antibacterial treatments is costly, as they require a variety of complex clinical trials where the data generated from these trials must be rigorous to prove efficiency over alternative treatments. The targets and priorities for investment by the AMR Action fund will be guided by the WHO’s annual antibiotic reviews. In the latest WHO report, only 6 out of a portfolio of 32 antibacterial treatments currently in clinical development would meet the WHO target guidelines for investment, as they prioritize public health.  

Investing in innovative antibacterial treatments is urgent to tackle the pace of AMR. AMR Action Fund is an exemplary initiative of the private sector to extend the antibacterial treatment pipeline that is continuously narrowing. More public-private partnerships such as the AMR Action Fund, CARB-X and the Global Antibiotic Research and Development Partnership (GARDP) are necessary to address the challenge of AMR.

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