UK and Russian experts tackle superbugs

Experts from the UK and Russia are to join forces to combat the global problem of antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

The AMR Centre (AMRC), in Alderley Park, Cheshire in the UK is to collaborate with Russian science and technology organisation, the Skolkovo Foundation, based in Moscow.

They will work in partnership to identify opportunities for joint UK-Russian funding to support collaborative projects between organisations in both countries.

Announced during today’s Genesis Conference at the QEII Centre in London, and also at the UK-Russia Healthcare and Life Sciences Forum in Moscow, the agreement will see the AMRC provide support to Skolkovo-based SMEs for the pre-clinical development of new therapies and diagnostics for AMR.

The centre will offer assistance in the form of R&D expertise and help with funding applications, including applications for international funding from its alliance partner, CARB-X, a $400m global initiative backed by the US government and the UK charity the Wellcome Trust.

The Skolkovo Foundation is the not-for-profit organisation responsible for the Skolkovo Innovation Centre, a scientific and technological centre for the development and commercialisation of advanced technologies.

Founded in 2010 and based in Moscow region, the Skolkovo innovation system comprises the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology (Skoltech) established in partnership with MIT, corporate R&D centres, business incubators, more than high-tech 1700 start-up companies, technological and urban infrastructure.

The agreement is part of this year’s UK-Russia Year of Science and Education, which is intended to stimulate further scientific collaboration between the two countries and is supported by the UK Science and Innovation Network at the British Embassy in Moscow.

Kirill Kaem, senior vice-president for innovations of the Skolkovo Foundation, said: “Out of our 430 biomedical startups, Skolkovo’s project portfolio includes only a few companies that are developing new antibiotics or diagnostic solutions in this therapeutic area and we would like to have more.”

“For Skolkovo start-ups, it will be a great honour to start collaboration with AMRC as a scientific and advisory R&D centre in antibiotic resistance.”

Lord Jim O’Neill. Photo Credit: AMR Centre

Lord Jim O’Neill, author of a landmark AMR Review, which was commissioned by the UK government, said: “It is excellent to see this news. International collaboration on AMR is crucial. The UK can do all the right things necessary, but unless other countries do the same, then UK citizens are still vulnerable as a result of international travel, and connectivity between humans and animals.”

Lord O’Neill called on the BRICS countries – Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, to get involved, due to the link between AMR and infectious diseases such as tuberculosis.

The AMRC is also working internationally with Massachusetts-based biotech Micriobiotix, and Stockholm’s Medivir to find new ways to tackle bacterial resistance.

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