Alderley Park managing director welcomes government plan to fight antimicrobial resistance

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Alderley Park’s managing director, Dr Chris Doherty has today welcomed the Government announcement of a new action plan to address the problem of antimicrobial Resistance (AMR), which Health Secretary Matthew Hancock says is: “as big a danger to humanity as climate change or warfare.”

Speaking at the World Economic Forum, Mr Hancock pledged that the UK would lead the way and development of a payment system for the NHS that will incentivise pharma companies to develop vital new drugs.

One of the key obstacles to both reducing the use of antibiotics and developing new drugs has been a chronic lack of innovation and a broken incentive model, which in turn has resulted in a worrying shortage of scientists working on new antibiotics.

In order to counter this, the government has today announced it is develop a new model that rewards pharmaceutical companies according to the importance of the drugs to the NHS, rather than the number sold.

Dr Doherty said: “It is very welcome news that, in a move that shows true global leadership, the market failure in antibiotic drug development is being addressed by the UK Government. AMR is a complex challenge but science can only seek to solve it if the funding mechanism for this unique problem is overhauled.

“The AMR Centre is based here at Alderley Park, together with a number of other organisations and companies that are spearheading the international charge against AMR. The Centre is a joint private-public initiative to support and accelerate the development of new antibiotics and diagnostics through a fully integrated development capability, offering translational R&D from pre-clinical hits through to clinical proof of concept.”

Over recent years it has quickly established itself as a key component in the UK’s response to this most serious of global threats. Its mission is to guarantee that all new, novel and antimicrobial drugs can get to market as quickly as possible. This will be achieved through a partnering model that progresses research through to clinical trial, enabling antimicrobial treatments be brought to market quicker.

Dr Doherty continued: “I know the Government’s announcement will give a huge boost to the teams here at the AMR Centre and Alderley Park. It is impossible to underestimate how important such drugs could be for the future of modern medicine.

“We echo Matthew Hancock’s call for other countries to follow the UK’s lead by taking AMR to their top of their health agenda, and we look forward to working with our colleagues across the scientific community around the world in order to help defeat this increasingly dangerous condition.”

Katie Droogan