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New BIO Report says Biotech Pipeline is Outpaced

According to a new BIO assessment (PDF) published Monday, biotechs do not have the arsenal of antibiotic hopes in their Pipeline to match the mounting threat of antimicrobial resistance. Antibiotics firms have received substantially less venture capital than the bigger biotech industry. The trade group’s industry research team, led by co-authors David Thomas and Chad Wessel, discovered that venture financing for antimicrobial firms climbed 29 percent from 2016 to 2018, while funding for the biotech industry as a whole increased 175 percent.

For example, the analysis found that 109 oncology-focused businesses raised $12 billion in the ten years leading up to 2020, compared to $700 million raised by only 12 antimicrobial biotechs. According to the authors, a lack of funding has resulted in a Pipeline that is insufficiently diversified, as seen by the fact that only 18% of antibiotic approvals have occurred this century.

More than 84 percent of the 64 antibacterial therapies in clinical trials are direct-acting new chemical or biological entities. However, over two-thirds of those have targets for which a medication has already been approved. Sinovent’s XNW4107, a medication developed in China, is being studied in combination with conventional antibacterials imipenem and cilastatin to treat illnesses caused by resistant bacteria.

Another company, Adaptive Phage Therapeutics, is testing a range of medicines for prosthetic joint infection, recurring urinary tract infection, and other conditions in phase 1/2 trials. Startups are a driving force in the biotech business. Small businesses are responsible for more than 80% of the new antibiotics being tested, with huge corporations accounting for only eight of them. The authors are concerned that significant pharmaceutical companies leaving the antibacterial market, along with a lack of licencing and M&A activity, has driven away investors.

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