Dr. Marc Gitzinger
Chief Executive Officer and Founder, BioVersys
The world needs to wake up to the threat of AMR, says the Founder and CEO of a biopharma company dedicated to the research and development of novel antibacterial products.
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) has been called ‘the silent pandemic.’ This is ironic, notes Dr Marc Gitzinger, Founder and CEO of BioVersys, a biopharmaceutical company focusing on the research and development of novel antibacterial products. “In my view,” he says, “AMR is screaming very loudly indeed.”
Need for new antibiotics and lack of investment
Dr Gitzinger calls AMR a formidable global threat, which has the potential to unleash a bacterial pandemic — upending the advances made in modern medicine over the last 50 years. To prevent the undermining of our health systems, new antibiotics are needed urgently.
“Unfortunately, antibiotic development has been incredibly neglected,” he says. “Only smaller players are still innovating in this space while recent analysis showed that in the last five years, around 80% of the people involved in companies that successfully brought antibiotics to market have either retired or gone into other therapeutic areas. That talent loss is worrying.”
The problem is financial, says Dr Gitzinger. “We need to change the model, which reimburses pharma companies based on volume and adopt the type of subscription model used in the UK,” he explains.
This would make innovations in antimicrobials a more attractive investment area, potentially redefining the landscape of treatment strategies against AMR. The public also needs a better understanding of the AMR challenge — and of the importance of antibiotics in general. “Antibiotics are THE wonder drug of humankind,” he says. “Giving up on them would be crazy.”
The public also needs a better understanding
of the AMR challenge — and of the
importance of antibiotics in general.
Developing innovative assets to combat rising challenges of AMR
BioVersys has developed a diverse portfolio of innovative assets to combat antimicrobial resistance. “One is being developed for patients with ventilator-associated bacterial pneumonia and is now at the Phase 2 clinical trial stage,” reveals Dr Gitzinger. Another is in Phase 2a clinical trial and aims to provide an efficacious therapy for tuberculosis patients.
As an early-stage biotech, we have decided to focus on areas where there is the highest unmet medical need. We also collaborate with academic partners and, on one of our programmes, a large pharma partner that is one of the few big companies still dedicated to working in this space.”
Dr Gitzinger remains optimistic. “If countries change their reimbursement models for novel antibiotics, we will find the solutions to combat AMR,” he says. “Otherwise, antibiotic development will continue to be neglected; and the world will have serious issues as a consequence.”