Problems and Hope in the Antibiotics Pipeline

Problems and Hope in the Antibiotics Pipeline

01.19.12 | By Kaelan Hollon

Matt Herper's Forbes post yesterday highlights an issue we've been in an uproar over for years now: the quickly growing problem of the antibiotics pipeline. Bacteria are evolving faster than companies can bring new antibiotics to market, which leads to problems like upticks in MRSA infections and other superbugs. Bacteria are tricky; they can quickly change in response to antibiotics and even grow resistant, creating ever more harmful and life-threatening infections. That means we need a full pipeline of new antibiotics and a regulatory and economic climate conducive to bringing these life-saving medicines to patients. Right now, it takes about 15 years and $1 billion to get an average new medicine to market, and along with the complex scientific, regulatory and economic hurdles facing antibiotic development, bringing these life-saving medicines to patients is more challenging than ever.

But there is hope - last fall, along with the Infectious Diseases Society of America and the Pew Charitable Trusts, we helped organize a conference that brought together the best and the brightest of the antibiotics literati to discuss potential solutions for the scientific, regulatory and economic challenges of getting more antibiotics into the market. I'll be checking in with some people involved in the issue and will provide a quick interview update in the next few weeks. In the meantime, for a more in-depth discussion of the problem, check out Herper's earlier story on antibiotics and the World Economic Forum's aforementioned blog post.

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