GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) plc and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), have agreed to a first of its kind collaboration that will support the development of several antibiotics to fight antibiotic resistance and bioterrorism.
This public-private agreement marks the first time that HHS has taken a “portfolio approach” to funding drug development with a private sector company.
This unique collaboration provides flexibility to move funding around GSK’s antibacterial portfolio, rather than focusing on just one drug candidate and allow medicines to be studied for the potential treatment of both conventional and biothreat pathogens.
Under the terms of the agreement, HHS will provide $40 million for the initial 18-month agreement and up to a total of $200 million if the agreement is renewed over five years.
The treatment of drug resistant bacterial infections is predicted to become a global crisis due to the scarcity of new antibiotics in the pharmaceutical industry’s pipeline and a decrease in investment in research and development.
Many companies have in recent years withdrawn from antibacterial R&D due to the scientific challenges and a lower return on investment, affecting the ability to treat bacterial infections and compromising our preparedness to tackle biothreat pathogens.
Consequently, public-private partnership is important to help sustain effort in this area of science.
“There is an urgent need to address antibiotic resistance and new models are needed to deal with this challenging area of drug development,” said David Payne, head of GSK’s Antibacterial Discovery Performance Unit.
Payne continued, “We strongly believe that innovative public-private partnerships such as this are integral to solving this critical healthcare issue and we are delighted to work with BARDA in a more strategic way.”
The work under this agreement will be governed by a BARDA-GSK joint oversight committee that will monitor progress, make decisions on the allocation of funds and decide on the addition or removal of drug candidates from the portfolio.
GSK is an industry leader in government research collaborations and has had contracts with BARDA and other agencies for vaccines and antibiotics development.
In March, GSK and the Texas A&M System and GlaxoSmithKline received U.S. government approval to establish an influenza vaccine facility in Texas.
As one of the few large pharmaceutical companies still pursuing antibacterial research, GSK also has creative collaborations and funding partnerships with other companies, academia, and funding bodies such as the Innovative Medicines Initiative, Europe’s largest public-private initiative and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, which is part of the U.S. Department of Defense.