One pillar to circumventing AMR is the development of new anti-infective agents. Even if the current antibiotic pipeline slowly increased since the early 2000s, it remains too leaky to counter the development of AMR. In light of this dire need for new drugs and treatments, a rethinking of the process of anti-infective discovery is needed. No real initiative or network exists on the national scene focusing on the first stage of antimicrobial discovery and therefore AntibioDEAL network proposes to address this lack.
In the pharmaceutical science field, antibiotic development is singular because of low selling prices and the paradoxical need to limit their use. This led to pharmaceutical companies fleeing the field voluntarily or due to economic issues. Nowadays most fundamental research in antibiotic discovery is carried out in academia and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises which must deal with attrition associated with the early phases of preclinical and clinical evaluation and large capital risks. In most academia, anti-infective R&D expertise and infrastructure are not routinely available. Indeed, according to the Wellcome Trust, the number of rejected applications by CARB-X (>93%) exemplifies a lack of understanding of what it takes to design the key proof-of-concept experiments needed to support an antibacterial hit to lead.
The AntibioDEAL network aims to gather stakeholders with diverse backgrounds and implement a national cohesive task force on the unique aspect of antimicrobial discovery to tackle AMR. The scope has been defined as preclinical stages only, and direct and indirect active compounds.
By establishing a network of France-based academic and industrial sector experts, AntibioDEAL will support future discovery success by sharing expertise, data, and knowledge, and identifying technical and scientific bottlenecks. Round tables, surveys, and workshops will allow the establishment of a white paper reporting efficient antimicrobial discovery workflow which should help to succeed in translational grant calls (eg. CARB-X, Novo REPAIR).
AntibioDEAL revolves around three main objectives:
- to contact all national stakeholders and set up a complete national registry in the antibiotic discovery;
- to create One Global Health working groups of experts that will identify the bottlenecks and requirements needed to improve the basic research and exploratory antibiotic discovery;
- to establish a grey report that will strengthen the early drug discovery pipeline. Overall, the AntibioDEAL network should enable academics and SMEs to access, collaborate or develop the relevant skills and expertise needed to successfully translate their discovery.