Redx Pharma Joins Expert International Panel on Global AMR Threat

Dr Neil Murray, the CEO of Liverpool-headquartered biotech Redx Pharma, will join global health experts to discuss solutions to the threat of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) at the industry-leading BIO 2014 conference in San Diego this week.

AMR is now a major world-wide public health challenge – resulting in 23,000 deaths in the U.S. and a comparable 25,000 in Europe each year. It is also associated with soaring treatment and societal costs.  Despite the recognised need for new antimicrobials, only two new classes of antibiotics have been brought to market in the last 30 years.

It has been described by the UK’s Chief Medical Officer, Dame Sally Davies, as a global threat of catastrophic proportions and means that simple infections resulting from routine operations could prove deadly. This regression to a situation comparable to the 19th century could become a reality in less than two decades unless action is taken.

Redx Pharma is the largest UK biotech working to develop new treatments to target drug-resistant infectious diseases.

Dr Murray, said: “Thanks to Dame Sally Davies, the UK now has a leading international voice on this issue. At Redx we are committed to countering this threat to public health, which is easily on a par with global terrorism, but receives nothing like the same profile.

“Developing a diverse and sustainable pipeline of drugs is absolutely critical in tackling this problem. The lack of commercial viability in this area is one of the key issues which has prevented companies from developing potential new solutions to treat infectious diseases. The more favourable commercial profile for other major disease areas such as cancer or heart disease has resulted in companies focusing their limited R&D budgets in those areas.

“Small highly-innovative companies are more nimble and adept at exploring and creating new treatments than big pharma and can act as ‘discovery engines’ for the rest of the industry, but they can’t manage this task on their own. These companies need to have the financial security to be able to try to develop new therapies without fear of failure. Public private partnerships are a key means of creating a research environment where a pioneering approach is rewarded and risks can be taken in the pursuit of excellence.”

Redx Pharma is working with the Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals Trust to develop new drugs to combat the growing threat of anti-biotic resistance, in particular, that posed by MRSA. The collaboration is one of the very first commercial agreements to deliver on a stated aim of NHS England to develop more partnerships with industry.   

The company is also a partner in the ENABLE consortium that is funded by a combination of European Union and industry money and which is focused on new drugs for difficult to treat infections.

Drawing on Redx Pharma’s experience of collaborative working with NHS and ENABLE partners to develop new anti-infective drugs, Dr Murray will outline how public private partnerships could be the key to reinvigorating corporate R&D.

Based at Astra Zeneca’s BioHub at Alderley Park, Redx Pharma’s £10.5 million Anti-Infectives R&D centre is supported by combination of public and private investment. A team of around 119 chemists and scientists at the site are working to develop drugs to combat resistance to antibiotics and new medicines to tackle viral infections, with a particular focus on hard to treat infections. These include the drug resistant superbugs like MRSA, as well as conditions such as influenza, Hepatitis C and HIV. 

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