The challenge of antimicrobial resistance is now a priority for the WHO, the UN, the G20 and a number of European stakeholders. In order to pool the existing and future efforts in this area, the Joint Programming Initiative on Antimicrobial Resistance (JPI AMR) launched a call for transnational working groups in 2016. The funded networks, including BEAM Alliance, produce prospective analyses, white papers, recommendations and/or good practices guides to identify the current problems and potential solutions.
Because they actively participate in the development of innovative products and approaches, small and medium-sized biotechnology companies are key stakeholders in the fight against antimicrobial resistance.
Funded by the French National Research Agency and coordinated by the Da Volterra biotechnology company, BEAM Alliance is thus proposing ten recommendations mostly aimed at reinforcing the access of SMEs to specific sources of financing, suited to their size and constraints.
In order to encourage R&D efforts and promote the development of novel therapeutic strategies, the network advocates an implementation of direct or indirect rewards for investors, at the main stages of research and development. Importantly, the evaluation of health technologies must be adapted to the specificities of the AMR field, namely by taking into account the numerous unmet medical needs (such as the prevention of infections and resistance phenomena, or the reduction of side effects).
Beam Alliance urges regulatory authorities to adapt their procedures, in particular for evaluating innovative approaches, such as the use of bacteriophages. The financing of SMEs should also adapt further: simplicity without the need for large partnerships, sufficient resources to enable SMEs to overcome the "valley of death" from early stage discovery to clinical proof of concept. The network also encourages the development of "Push" initiatives, such as the CARB-X programme, which makes it possible to support SMEs in the early stages of product development, in order to provide rapid responses to bacterial resistance. Finally, BEAM Alliance insists on the importance of providing R&D prizes and entry rewards for products reaching phase 1 and 2 clinical trials, and also on supporting product market entry with the support of regulatory authorities, based on the model of rare diseases.