Over the past month, the World Health Organization and the Access to Medicines Foundation issued reports bemoaning an overall lack of private investment and innovation in antibiotic development, especially novel antimicrobials needed to overcome pathogens that are resistant to existing treatments. Toward that end, the WHO has been working for the past few months with the European Investment Bank to create an investment fund with up to $1 billion to finance antimicrobials that have new mechanisms of action. The effort is still getting organized and may not debut for several months, but WHO and EIB officials are hopeful it will yield at least 10 useful medications. We spoke with Peter Beyer, a senior adviser in the WHO antimicrobial resistance division, about the progress. This is an edited version of our conversation.
Pharmalot: Where did the impetus for this fund come from?