Antibiotic Action welcomes results of pathfinding inquiry but calls for further funding and leadership in urgent pursuit of new antibiotics

Antibiotic Action supports the recommendations of the DRIVE-AB report, ‘Revitalizing the antibiotic pipeline’, which concludes that further funding and leadership are required to stimulate innovation, drive sustainable use, and ensure global access to life-saving treatment.

The report, which was published today (24/01/18), calls for a 50% increase in research and development funding and the introduction of significant market entry rewards to dramatically increase the number of new antibiotics that are expected to reach the market.

Its authors estimate that the current level of ‘push’ funding (about $550 million/€470 million a year) is only likely to produce about four new classes of antibiotics in the next 30 years, while antibiotic resistance in some pathogens may more than double in the same period. As such, they estimate that $800 million (€680 million) is now needed annually to further boost research grants and pipeline coordination.

In addition, the DRIVE-AB report calculates that a market entry reward of $1 billion per antibiotic globally (in addition to unit sales revenues) could quadruple the number of new antibiotics coming to the market in the next 30 years.

It goes on to say that the first innovative antibiotic may receive regulatory approval as early as 2020 and the second in 2021 – but that without increased, and sustained, investment these initial breakthroughs could soon tail off.

It expects that at least $1.2 billion (€1.02 billion) per year will be necessary every year after 2022 (since a market entry reward of this value should result in about 18 qualifying antibiotics reaching the market in the 30 years after implementation of market entry rewards).

It suggests that the G20 Global R&D Collaboration Hub on AMR is best-placed to help implement the recommendations and so achieve the high-level coordination that is urgently required.

BSAC President, Professor Dilip Nathwani OBE, said: “Until we discover alternative therapies that can’t be compromised by resistant pathogens, drug development will remain a huge challenge. To provide an adequate stream of new treatments, significant investment will need to continue.

“However, as the report itself makes clear, increased investment in drug development should be as well as, and not instead of, support for AMR surveillance, infection control, access initiatives, responsible use, and work on rapid diagnostics. Education underpins all these activities and should at all times complement these activities, if we are to step up progress in all of these areas to minimise the risk antimicrobial resistance is always likely to pose to us.”

Dr Nicholas Brown, Consultant Medical Microbiologist, and Director of Antibiotic Action, said: “BSAC was pleased to participate as a partner in this important IMI initiative, the recommendations of which, if implemented, will offer groundbreaking opportunities to replenish the antibiotic pipeline.”


BSAC was one of 16 public and 7 private partners from 12 countries that participated in the DRIVE-AB project, which was funded by the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) – a joint undertaking between the European Union and the European Pharmaceutical Industry Association (EFPIA).

The aim of the three-year project was to find ways to reduce antimicrobial resistance through responsible antibiotic use, and to identify how, through new economic models, we can incentivise the discovery and development of new novel antibiotics for current and future use.

BSAC worked with Chatham House to deliver the communications strategy for the project and contributed to the workstream that sought to develop an evidence-based, consensus-led definition for “responsible antibiotic use”.

For more information about DRIVE-AB visit

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