Novo Holding launches latest call for antibiotic investment proposals

With the focus on COVID-19 over the last year it’s easy to forget another deadly pandemic caused by antimicrobial resistance (AMR), which could lead to the most innocuous of infections becoming life threatening.

The Novo Holding REPAIR Impact Fund is hoping to change this with its latest call for investment proposals to fight AMR.

While there have been huge strides in treatments for cancer and other diseases in the last few decades, research into new antibiotics has been almost stagnant as big pharma companies don’t think they will see a return on their investments.

This is the €135 million ($165 million) REPAIR Impact Fund’s sixth call for investment proposals since it was set up in 2018, and second global call.

To date, REPAIR has received over 200 investment proposals and has made nine investments in its commitment to help tackle the global AMR crisis.

REPAIR provides not only funding, but also critical strategic support and connections to other investors to accelerate the development of early-stage novel antibiotics towards the clinic.

The REPAIR Impact Fund initially invests only in projects that are between lead optimisation and phase 1 clinical trials – however, the fund may continue to support its portfolio companies as they advance into phase 2 clinical trials.

Companies are invited to submit a non-confidential proposal, which will be presented to the fund’s Scientific Selection Board.  Successful projects will be selected later in the year.

This is not the only attempt to revive research into antibiotics: last year more than 20 big pharma companies joined to create the AMR Action Fund, where they joined forces with philanthropists, development banks and other organisations to find new compounds.

The International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA)  launched the initiative, saying that there is “no viable market” for new antibiotics, causing R&D to dry up just as resistant strains of bacteria resistant to older drugs become more commonplace.

New antibiotics are designed to be used sparingly to reduce the likelihood of these resistant strains emerging – but this means that the revenues are not there to produce a return on the billions invested in a new drug.

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