There is a need for innovation in the area of antimicrobial drugs in order to address issues such as antimicrobial resistance and the current lack of access to antimicrobials. Antimicrobial resistance is an emerging public health challenge arising from the overuse and abuse of antimicrobials, which result in unnecessarily high rates of resistance development in pathogens. Even today tens of thousands of patients die of bacterial infections resistant to antibiotics every year in the richest countries. Simultaneously, hundreds of thousands of people in low- and middle-income countries die each year due to lack of access to antimicrobials. The pharmaceutical industry considers antimicrobials to have low profitability, with lean antimicrobial R&D pipelines as a lamentable outcome. Thus, the challenge is threefold: how do we incentivize innovation, secure access, and promote rational use simultaneously?
The main research question to be addressed in the i4C-8 project is: What incentives can encourage innovators to develop new antibiotics that will be seldom used and not promoted as the first line of therapy? The i4C-8 project team sets out to answer this question by working in collaboration with DRIVE-AB, a research consortium funded by a €6.5 million grant from the European Union's Innovative Medicines Initiative. Different proposed incentive and policy interventions will be modeled in silico, to inform evidence-based policy recommendations.