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Science news

BioInfect 2017: Collaboration and Incentives


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On 2nd November we were delighted to host BioInfect 2017, organised by Bionow, at Alderley Park. The conference saw industry, academia and the clinical sector come together to discuss the critical issues relating to the development of new anti-infectives and the endemic problem of resistance.

The key note speech was delivered by Tyler Merkeley, CARB-X Program Manager of Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA). He discussed the importance of antibiotics in modern healthcare, looking at the developments over the past year and what needs to be done next.

Merkeley declared the need for more communication within the anti-infectives space. He highlighted that the past year has been a great year for global public private partnerships. The likes of BARDA, CARB-X, GARDP and the AMR Centre have excelled in collaborative work - 2017 was a year of push incentives for R&D, demonstrated by the global AMR hub. Looking forward, he posed that turning early science R&D into products requires pull incentives for industry. In particular, market entry rewards are needed - as antibiotics are one of the only class of drugs whose use diminishes utility overtime. How do industry and society ensure antibiotics are available without driving inappropriate use?

Going forward, BARDA is focused on developing new medical countermeasures and are investing in the best technology, all over the world. So whilst 2017 was the year of collaboration, is 2018 set to be the year of pull incentives with new accelerators, new funding announcements, new powered by CARB-X awards and new funders?

Consistent with the global theme, Alderley Park has a track record for international collaboration. The AMR Centre, based at the Park, works in partnership with US organisations BARDA and CARB-X and has more recently signed deals with Swedish owned Medivir AB and is actively exploring linkages with China and Russia. In addition, Metalinear, who exploits proteome engineering to uncover, characterise and validate new targets for antibiotics, has recently gained investment from Alderley Park Ventures in conjunction with Catapult Ventures. Alderley Park is ideally positioned as a catalyst for such collaboration and acceleration. With an on-site cohort of anti-infective scientists, specialist assets, a range of scientific services and a cluster of companies including Evotec, Blueberry Therapeutics, Medicines Discovery Catapult and Absynth Biologics, the Park is rapidly enhancing its global influence within this field.

The key note speech was followed by a ‘State of the AMR Nation’ panel featuring Alderley Park’s AMR Centre and Medicines Discovery Catapult.

If you’d like to find out more about how you can get involved with the AMR Centre, Alderley Park or Bionow, get in touch.

BioInfect, organised by Bionow, returns to Alderley Park in Autumn 2018.

Katie Droogan