Amid escalating concerns over antibiotic resistance, several big drug makers are creating a new $1 billion for-profit venture to acquire or invest in small antibiotic companies and their nascent products, according to two people familiar with the plans.

The effort will be announced on July 9 by the chief executive officers at Pfizer, Merck, Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk, Boehringer Ingelheim, Bayer Pharmaceuticals, and Merck KGaA, among others. Also on hand will be government officials from Germany, Sweden, the U.K., and France, as well as representatives from Wellcome Trust and Pew Charitable Trusts.

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