The AMR Action Fund announces its first non-industry investments, raising an additional US$140 million toward addressing antimicrobial resistance (AMR)
Today, the AMR Action Fund announced its first initial close with non-pharmaceutical industry investments of more than US$140 million from the Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation, the European Investment Bank (supported by the European Commission), and the Wellcome Trust. This adds to the initial investment from more than 20 leading biopharmaceutical companies that established the Fund as announced in July 2020. With this significant financial commitment from global foundations and development banks, the AMR Action Fund becomes the world’s largest public-private partnership supporting the development of new antibiotics. It demonstrates the type of commitment and collaboration across sectors that is urgently needed to address the global threat of antibiotic-resistant infections – also called antimicrobial resistance, or AMR.
“We need innovative solutions to avert the looming health crisis posed by AMR, which threatens to make even common medical procedures potentially deadly,” said Christoph Boehringer, Chairman of the Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation. “The Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation is committed to fighting the greatest global health threats of our time and we are proud to join this broad alliance of charitable organizations, development banks, and biopharmaceutical companies. We are confident the AMR Action Fund will enable researchers and scientists to bring innovative antibiotics to patients suffering from severe bacterial infections.” The Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation is supporting the AMR Action Fund with an investment of US$50 million.
Each year 700,000 people die due to the uncontrolled rise of superbugs resistant to antibiotics. In some of the most alarming scenarios, it is estimated that by 2050 AMR could claim as many as 10 million lives per year. Antibiotics are the foundation of modern medicine. Without a stable pipeline of new antibiotics, this foundation is at risk of crumbling.
The AMR Action Fund [www.AMRactionfund.com] is a ground-breaking partnership that aims to bring 2 to 4 new antibiotics to patients by 2030. These treatments are urgently needed to address the rapid rise of AMR which has the potential to undermine every aspect of medicine today. The Fund will invest in clinical research of innovative new antibiotics that are addressing the most resistant bacteria and life-threatening infections. While the new coronavirus was practically unknown until early January 2020, AMR is a threat we know, and we must take collective action now.
“Systemic market failure has left antibiotic innovation starved of financing, meaning potentially lifesaving products are unable to make it to the patients who need them. Wellcome is taking steps towards fixing this by contributing £50 million (US$66.8 million) to the AMR Action Fund. This fund will provide a lifeline for companies navigating the expensive and technically complex later stages of antibiotic development. We are particularly pleased that the Fund will place an emphasis on equitable access and responsible stewardship which is crucial to solving this global health challenge,” said Jeremy Farrar, Director of the Wellcome Trust. “But this is only part of the solution. We also need governments to simultaneously put in place long-term policy measures such as incentives and reimbursement reforms. The AMR Action Fund is buying time for the antibiotic pipeline. It is now up to governments to use this time wisely and take decisive action to fix the market.”
“AMR is rendering treatments ineffective, therefore it is crucial to develop a steady pipeline of new and innovative antibiotics,” said Werner Hoyer, President of the European Investment Bank. “It’s high time that we create partnerships to foster research and improve access to innovative technological solutions that help to prevent and control AMR. Backed by the European Commission, the European Investment Bank is proud to invest €20 million (US$24.1 million) in such a partnership to drive antibiotic innovation. But to preserve and protect public health, more investment in the antibiotic pipeline should be supported and additional solutions must be created to address market failures. The European Investment Bank is ready to play its role by crowding-in additional investors.”
With its investments, the AMR Action Fund is working to bridge the funding gap between the discovery of urgently needed antibiotics by innovative biotechs and patients. However, the antibiotic pipeline is fragile, and while additional funding is a short-term solution to this pressing issue, longer term policy changes are needed to incentivize and strengthen a constant flow of innovation.
“As experts and policymakers from around the globe emphasized at the AMR Action Fund’s launch in July, this is an urgent issue that stakeholders across all sectors must come together to address,” said Henry Skinner, Chief Executive Office of the AMR Action Fund. “We’re thrilled to be working with the Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation, the European Investment Bank, and the Wellcome Trust to expand the reach of the AMR Action Fund. We call on other investors from all sectors to join us in our efforts to ensure there is a sustainable pipeline of new antibiotics to fight superbugs.”
The Fund will soon take its first steps to begin assessing investment opportunities in biotech companies focused on developing new antibiotics that address the highest priority public health needs, make a significant difference in clinical practice, and save lives. For more details on the AMR Action fund, visit www.AMRactionfund.com.
About the AMR Action Fund
The AMR Action Fund is an initiative from over 20 leading biopharmaceutical companies, global charitable organizations, and development banks that seeks to invest over US$1 billion to bring 2-4 new antibiotics to patients by 2030. The AMR Action Fund will strengthen and accelerate antibiotic development by investing in companies developing innovative antibacterial treatments. It will also work with governments to ensure there is a sustainable pipeline of new antibiotics to fight the highest priority bacterial threats.
The concept of the AMR Action Fund was developed by the IFPMA and its member biopharmaceutical companies, in collaboration with the World Health Organization, the European Investment Bank, and the Wellcome Trust. Investors in the AMR Action Fund include: Almirall; Amgen; Bayer; Boehringer Ingelheim; Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation; Chugai; Daiichi-Sankyo; Eisai; Eli Lilly and Company; the European Investment Bank (with the support of the European Commission under Horizon 2020, the 2014-2020 European Union research and innovation program); GlaxoSmithKline; Johnson & Johnson; LEO Pharma; Lundbeck; Menarini; Merck; Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany; Novartis; Novo Nordisk; Novo Nordisk Foundation; Pfizer; Roche; Shionogi; Takeda; Teva; UCB; and the Wellcome Trust.
About the Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation
The Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation is an independent, non-profit organization committed to the promotion of the medical, biological, chemical, and pharmaceutical sciences. It was established in 1977 by Hubertus Liebrecht (1931–1991), a member of the shareholder family of the Boehringer Ingelheim company. With the Perspectives Programme Plus 3 and the Exploration Grants, the Foundation supports independent junior group leaders. It also endows the international Heinrich Wieland Prize as well as awards for up-and-coming scientists. In addition, the Foundation is funding institutional projects in Germany such as the Institute of Molecular Biology and the department of life sciences at the University of Mainz or the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidelberg.
About the European Investment Bank
The European Investment Bank is the European Union’s bank. It is the long-term lending institution of the European Union and is the only bank owned by and representing the interests of the European Union Member States. The European Investment Bank works closely with other EU institutions to implement EU policy. This investment into the AMR Action Fund was made possible by the InnovFin Infectious Diseases Finance Facility, a joint initiative with the European Commission.
About the Wellcome Trust
Wellcome supports science to solve the urgent health challenges facing everyone. We support discovery research into life, health and wellbeing, and we’re taking on three worldwide health challenges: mental health, global heating and infectious diseases.
Silas Holland, Interim Director of External Affairs, AMR Action Fund