The history of antibiotics is cyclical: Drugs are developed, but bacterial evolution can soon render them ineffective in treating infections. Antibiotic resistance is fueled by the injudicious use of existing drugs and compounded by a failure to develop novel new ones. Today there are not enough drugs in development to meet current and anticipated patient needs, with many major pharmaceutical companies limiting or stopping their investments in antibiotic innovation.

Pew works to develop and promote policies that will support the development of new antibiotics to ensure a healthy nation today and in the future. 

Vials
Vials
Report

A Scientific Roadmap for Antibiotics

Quick View
Report

In recent decades, the discovery and development of new antibiotics have slowed dramatically as scientific barriers to drug discovery, regulatory challenges, and diminishing returns on investment have led major drug companies to scale back or abandon their antibiotic research.

Antibiotic Development
Antibiotic Development
Article

Tracking the Pipeline of Antibiotics in Development

Quick View
Article

This collection page was updated in December 2017 with new content. Drug-resistant bacteria, or superbugs, present a serious and worsening threat to human health. A majority of doctors have encountered patients with infections that do not respond to available treatments, and when new drugs come to market bacteria can quickly develop resistance. According to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2 million Americans acquire serious infections caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria each year, and at least 23,000 die as a result. A sustained and robust pipeline of new antibacterial drugs and novel therapies is critical to ensure that new interventions keep pace with these evolving pathogens.

scientist
scientist
Video

Why Can’t We Find New Antibiotics?

Quick View
Video

Antibiotics save millions of lives, but bacteria are constantly evolving to beat the drugs we use to fight them. Eventually, bacteria may become resistant to every form of antibiotic we have. That’s why finding new antibiotics is so important, but serious scientific barriers stand in the way.

press release
Shared Platform for Antibiotic Research and Knowledge
Shared Platform for Antibiotic Research and Knowledge
Press Releases & Statements

Pew to Launch Information-Sharing Platform to Spur Antibiotic Discovery

Learn More
Quick View
Press Releases & Statements

Pew to Launch Information-Sharing Platform to Spur Antibiotic Discovery

The Pew Charitable Trusts announced today that it will create a digital platform allowing researchers to share data, ideas, and insights to spur the discovery of innovative new antibiotics needed in the battle against the growing global threat of drug-resistant bacteria, or superbugs.

Learn More

Additional Resources

Glass flasks
Glass flasks
Article

The World Is Running Out of Antibiotics

Analyses of global antibiotic pipeline show insufficient drugs in development to meet growing threat of resistance

Quick View
Article

Reinvigorating the pipeline of antibiotics in development is more critical today than ever, as increasingly hard-to-treat bacteria continue to emerge. As part of ongoing work to spur the creation of urgently needed new antibiotics, The Pew Charitable Trusts’ antibiotic resistance project and the World Health Organization (WHO) have both released new analyses of the pipeline of products in clinical development with the potential to treat or prevent serious drug-resistant bacterial infections. And the findings are grim.