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GSK awarded $200m by US government for antibiotic research

Follows state-supported schemes in Europe to combat resistance to antibiotics

GSK awarded $200m by US government for antibiotic research

The US government has granted up to $200m to GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) to help support research into new antibiotics.

The collaboration is the first of its kind between a public body and private pharma company, and will support the development of products to combat both the growing global threat of antibiotic resistance and bioterrorism.

The money will come from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), part of the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which will provide GSK with $40m for an 18-month period, with the possibility of this increasing to $200m if the agreement is renewed for a further five years.

GSK's entire antibacterial portfolio is covered as part of the deal, while work will be will overseen by a joint BARDA-GSK committee that will monitor progress and make decisions on what research is funded and what are viable drug candidates.

David Payne, head of GSK's Antibacterial Discovery Performance Unit, said there is an “urgent need” to address resistance to antibiotics as bacterial infections continue to grow immunity to current treatments.

It's a challenge that industry and government are best equipped to face together though, according to Payne.

“We strongly believe that innovative public-private partnerships such as this are integral to solving this critical healthcare issue and we are delighted to work with BARDA in a more strategic way,” he said.

This is in line with similar efforts in effort to combat antibiotic resistance, such as the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) programme announced earlier this year that will see the EU support efforts from GSK, Sanofi, AstraZeneca, Janssen and Basilea into researching new antibiotics.

This includes the development of a pan-European clinical trial network to recruit patients and conduct multinational clinical trials at all stages of development, as well as research to identify new ways of getting medicines into bacteria.

Government support is more critical in antibiotic research than in most other therapy areas as the rewards are often less.

This can be down to the short product lifetimes of antimicrobial agents due to their diminishing efficacy, as well the decision to withhold some products for the future, limiting the time a company can benefit from patent exclusivity.

This has led to some prominent healthcare figures, including Dame Sally Davies, chief medical officer for England and Wales, to call for greater incentives to invest in the research of new antibiotics.

23rd May 2013

From: Research, Healthcare

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