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News & Trends - Pharmaceuticals

Pfizer and AbbVie leading the charge against AMR

Health Industry Hub | May 29, 2024 |

Pharma News: The landscape of antimicrobial research and development (R&D) is shifting, with a notable absence of large pharmaceutical companies due to commercial concerns, leaving very few new treatments making it to market. This gap in innovation threatens global health by exposing patients to the escalating threat of antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

According to the latest report from The Access to Medicine Foundation’s AMR Programme, a spotlight shines on promising late-stage R&D projects. Among these are Pfizer and AbbVie with their jointly developed Emblaveo (aztreonam-avibactam) which received European Commission approval in April 2024. Additionally, industry leaders like GSK, F2G, Innoviva, and Venatorx, each pursuing innovative solutions like gepotidacin, olorofim, zoliflodacin, and cefepime-taniborbactam, respectively.

These R&D projects hold promise, potentially saving over 160,000 lives annually by addressing drug-resistant infections ranging from gonorrhoea to invasive fungal infections. However, the impact is particularly significant for vulnerable populations, such as women and children in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).

Yet, the road to accessibility remains uncertain for many LMICs. While registration commitments have been solidified for key nations like China, India, Mexico, South Africa, and Thailand, a fog of ambiguity blankets 108 out of 113 LMICs under consideration, leaving the fate of these crucial treatments in limbo.

Despite some efforts to address affordability and stewardship, gaps persist. While Pfizer’s pricing strategies for aztreonam-avibactam and its altruistic initiatives stand out, other companies lack robust plans to ensure affordability and responsible use, a critical aspect of combating AMR.

Amidst these challenges, glimmers of hope emerge. Encouragingly, several companies are conducting or initiating pediatric trials, signaling a commitment to inclusivity and addressing the unique healthcare needs of children.

Partnerships play a pivotal role in amplifying efforts. Collaborations with organisations like the Global Antibiotic Research and Development Partnership (GARDP) enable broader access through licensing agreements, particularly in LMICs. However, despite these strides, there remains untapped potential in leveraging additional tools and strategies to expand access and stewardship plans.

Looking ahead, the imperative for comprehensive access and stewardship plans cannot be overstated. To fortify their impact, companies must embed these strategies into their innovation processes, prioritising populations most affected by drug resistance. Partnerships for co-development and licensing agreements offer avenues for extending reach, while resources like the Stewardship and Access Plan (SAP) Development Guide provide a roadmap for effective planning.

In the battle against AMR, collaboration, innovation, and strategic foresight are essential. By embracing these principles and implementing comprehensive access and stewardship plans, stakeholders can work towards a future where life-saving treatments are accessible to all who need them.

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