The AMR Centre has combined forces to attract much needed investment to combat the global threat of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) resulting in a successful bid for a £114 million project supported by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). The funding was secured by a North West UK based consortium that will work in partnership to create an integrated platform for the development of new treatments and diagnostics for infectious diseases.
Developed by UKRI, the Strength in Places Fund (SIPF) is a competitive funding scheme that takes a place-based approach to research and innovation to support significant local economic growth.
Based at Alderley Park, Cheshire, the AMR Centre is focused on accelerating the development of new treatments for drug-resistant infections through a fully integrated development capability, offering translational R&D from pre-clinical hits through to clinical proof of concept. The AMR Centre will receive a £4.55m share of Government funding over the next five years to progress its lead assets into clinical trials and bring forward pre-clinical projects.
The SIPF funding comes during a key period for antimicrobial resistance research, with the NHS currently collaborating with the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) on a pilot project under which NHS England will evaluate and procure two AMR drugs on a trial basis – de-linking the valuation and reward payments from the medicines’ usage, which has a been key impediment to getting new antibiotics to market.
Peter Jackson, executive director of The AMR Centre, said: “This is an important milestone for the AMR Centre and will have a positive ripple effect in the global community focused on antimicrobial resistance. New resistance mechanisms are constantly emerging, putting in jeopardy our ability to treat common infectious diseases such as pneumonia, tuberculosis, sepsis and gonorrhea. This funding will enable us to propel forward our exciting clinical programs and expand our work with other life sciences companies – in particular smaller biotechs – to develop innovative technologies to treat AMR.
“This funding, in conjunction with the ongoing NHS/NICE trial, is further confirmation of the UK’s role at the forefront of the global response to antimicrobial resistance. There is currently real momentum, and, although there is very long way to go, the SIPF award takes us one step closer to get new drugs to patients suffering life-threatening infections around the world.
“The terrible impact of coronavirus has demonstrated the importance of preparedness against infectious diseases – antimicrobial resistance is already one of the world’s most pressing issues, but the work that we will deliver in the coming years will lay the groundwork for saving many lives for decades to come.”
Dr Kath Mackay, managing director of Bruntwood SciTech – Alderley Park, added: “Today’s announcement recognises the economic importance of the life science sector, its role in accelerating economic growth and the world-class research and development facilities we have here at Alderley Park and across the North West. As part of the consortium, and alongside businesses such as Evotec that are also based here at Alderley Park, we’re proud to have played our part in helping to secure this funding. There has never been a greater need for investment in the fight against infectious diseases and with committed funding for the next five years, the AMR Centre is in an even stronger position to continue its charge on antimicrobial resistance. It will now be able to collaborate with organisations across the life science sector, many of which are based at Alderley Park, to develop new treatments and diagnostics in the fight against infectious diseases, and we’re committed to continuing our support of such an important project.”
The consortium will establish the North West of England as the national and international centre for translational R&D, providing industry with access to a progressive repository of methodologies and improved models for product development for prevention, diagnosis and treatment of critical infectious diseases.
The government will provide the consortium with £19m of funding from UKRI which will be matched with £95m from other public, private sector and philanthropic organisations over a five year period.
The core partners on the consortium, which will be led by the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, are: