Modern medicine is not conceivable without effective antibiotic treatment. Curing infectious diseases, deploying cancer therapy, surgery and organ transplantations would hardly be possible without antimicrobial agents. However, overuse and misuse of antibiotics in hospitals and agriculture have substantially increased antimicrobial resistance (AMR), reflecting the percentage of bacterial pathogens insusceptible to our most powerful anti-infective “weapons”. Alarmingly, the dramatic worldwide rise of multi- and pan-resistant pathogenic strains cannot be contained by the low rates of developing novel antimicrobial drugs with new modes of action. In fact, only a small fraction of the antibiotics approved over the last 40 years are derived from newly discovered compound classes, while the majority comes from already known chemical structures. If there is no significant future progress, the World Health Organization considers a “post antibiotic era” a realistic future scenario in which, for example, pneumonia and wound infections once again could become acute life-threatening diseases.
The IRAADD Network under the umbrella of JPIAMR-VRI (see also www.jpiamr.eu/iraadd/) aims to promote and accelerate translational science in the early stages of novel antibiotic discovery and lead candidate development. The areas of research we would like to leverage include hit identification and hit-to-lead programs, aiming at novel preclinical candidate nominations. These initial stages of drug development are essential to find and validate novel drug candidates, which are effective to fight AMR. However, such early-stage projects are mainly embedded within the academic sector and are greatly underfunded. Partnering with external funders, e.g. from pharmaceutical industry, is in most scenarios only realistic after nomination of preclinical lead candidates, which most often cannot be achieved by academic funding and infrastructures alone.
IRAADD will also work on developing strategies for an increased awareness of the need for novel antimicrobial therapeutics mainly within the public sector in order to enhance chances of sustainable funding for the initial phases of anti-infective drug development. Several global health organizations and public-private partnerships do currently address this gap, but still fail to help academic researchers to efficiently translate their findings into novel and useful therapeutic products. Thus, IRAADD will devise blueprints together with stakeholders in industry and politics that shall serve as a guidance how to overcome this severe funding problem, which would be a big step forward to boost the production of new antibiotics and to improve the global situation of spreading AMR. These aims are also in line with the current “One Health Action Plan against Antimicrobial Resistance”, introduced by the European Commission, which explicitly demands for the implementation and support of “research into the development of new antimicrobials” and the establishment of sustainable research networks in this area.
Unite internationally renowned groups with excellent track records in AMR research (focus: early stages of antibiotic discovery and development)
Implement a global cooperative platform to exchange scientific data, translational knowledge and interdisciplinary expert advice
Develop sustainable long-term concepts for project funding together with international stakeholders
Build synergistic partnerships with pharmaceutical Industry/SME and Global Health Organizations
Take collaborative AMR research to a new level
Define and tackle innovative antibiotic development projects to refill the translational pipeline with new drug candidates
Address the demands of the EU „One Health Action Plan“ and the WHO program to fight priority pathogens
Establish an International Center for Translational Antimicrobial Drug Research as a long-term goal