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‘Push,’ ‘Pull’ Market Incentives Needed To Spur Antibiotic Drug Development

STAT: What’s holding pharma back from the next antibiotic breakthrough?
Peter Bak, vice president for life science strategy at Back Bay Life Science Advisors

“…While scientists work to uncover new ways to combat antibiotic-resistant microbes … the question of how to best develop and commercialize novel antibiotics while at the same time creating a return for investors remains just as puzzling as the most recalcitrant bacteria. Any company considering investing in novel anti-infectives faces substantial commercial headwinds despite a clear and urgent need for them. Cost pressure is one formidable obstacle. … How the treatment of infections is paid for is another obstacle. … The [small] population of potential recipients is another impediment. … Although these hurdles may hold back any investor considering an anti-infective opportunity, several incentives and economic models have been proposed to reduce clinical development time and costs for anti-infectives, and ensure a commercially viable payment and reimbursement structure. These concepts are generally known as ‘push’ and ‘pull’ incentives. A variety of mechanisms are currently in place to help push an anti-infective through the clinical development process. … What pull incentives might look like in the future remains cloudy, though some groundwork has been established. … The next few years will prove critical for organizations developing novel antibiotics. Commercial successes could be the tipping point that pulls together stakeholders to reinvigorate the commercial model for anti-infectives…” (12/10).