BSAC repeats call for paradigm shift in drug development following alarming WHO report

The British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy (BSAC) is reaffirming the need for a paradigm shift in the way that we fund innovative drug development following the publication of a  World Health Organisation report that re-iterates the serious lack of new antibiotics under development to combat the growing threat of antimicrobial resistance.

The WHO report, Antibacterial agents in clinical development – an analysis of the antibacterial clinical development pipeline, including tuberculosis, which was launched today, shows that most of the drugs currently in the clinical pipeline are modifications of existing classes of antibiotics and are only short-term solution.  The report identified 51 new antibiotics and biologicals in clinical development to treat priority antibiotic-resistant pathogens (as well as tuberculosis and the sometimes deadly diarrhoeal infection Clostridium difficile) – but only 8 were classed as innovative treatments.

Dr Nick Brown, incoming Director of Antibiotic Action and Consultant Medical Microbiologist, said: “This is deeply concerning and serves as yet another reminder of how urgent the situation is. The traditional approach to drug development is simply too slow and lacks innovation. We need a paradigm shift in the way we work.  BSAC is quietly hopeful that the final report of the Drive-AB project, established to develop new economic models to incentivise antibiotic discovery and development activities while safeguarding the efficacy of antibiotics by researching and advocating their appropriate use, will help overcome many of the barriers to antibiotic development by providing radically new ways of working.”