Groups Urge Congress to Act on Antibiotic Resistance

Pew and 25 other organizations call for incentives to spur new drug development

In a letter to congressional leaders Feb. 5, The Pew Charitable Trusts, Infectious Diseases Society of America, and Trust for America’s Health, together with U.S. antibiotic developers large and small, called on Congress to move swiftly to enact a package of economic incentives to reinvigorate the stagnant pipeline of antibiotics. The letter laid out key principles for a set of policies to ensure that the unique challenges of antibiotic development are addressed with solutions that are aligned with appropriate stewardship and surveillance.

Of the antibiotics in development today, only 11 have the potential to address Gram-negative bacteria, the so-called superbugs deemed most dangerous by the World Health Organization. Based on historical trends, perhaps just two of those drugs will ever make it to market. Despite this urgent need for new antibiotics, the future of antibiotic development is grim. Nearly all large pharmaceutical companies have discontinued their antibiotic research and development programs, and the remaining small biotech firms struggle to raise private funds. Without additional action, the market will not deliver the new antibiotics that patients need.

The 26 signees were:

  • Achaogen
  • Antimicrobial Innovation Alliance
  • Antimicrobials Working Group (Amplyx Pharmaceuticals, Aridis Pharmaceuticals, Cidara Therapeutics Inc., ContraFect Corp., Entasis Therapeutics Inc., Iterum Therapeutics Ltd., Melinta Therapeutics Inc., Motif Bio PLC, Nabriva Therapeutics US Inc., Paratek Pharmaceuticals Inc., Qpex Biopharma Inc., Scynexis Inc., Summit Therapeutics PLC, and VenatoRx Pharmaceuticals Inc.)
  • Biotechnology Innovation Organization
  • GlaxoSmithKline
  • Infectious Diseases Society of America
  • Merck
  • Pfizer Inc.
  • Shionogi Inc.
  • Spero Therapeutics
  • Tetraphase Pharmaceuticals
  • The Pew Charitable Trusts
  • Trust for America’s Health