Alderley Park, Cheshire, U.K. Infex Therapeutics, a leading anti-infectives specialist, welcomes the UK government’s new five-year national action plan to help combat antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and protect people and animals from the risk of drug-resistant infections. This is the second in a series of five-year national action plans to ensure sustained progress by tackling the global threat of AMR.

The new plan supports the government’s 20-year vision to contain and control AMR by 2040 and is focused on driving down the inappropriate use of antibiotics; strengthening the surveillance of drug-resistant infections before they emerge and incentivising the industry to develop the next generation of new drugs and vaccines.

AMR occurs when bacteria, and other microorganisms, develop resistance to antimicrobial drugs, such as antibiotics, making them less responsive or unresponsive to treatment. Avoiding unnecessary antibiotic usage in humans and animals is crucial to slowing the development and spread of antibiotic resistance.

The new plan has nine strategic outcomes organised under four themes:

  1. Reducing the need for, and unintentional exposure to, antimicrobials – this includes activity to prevent infections arising in the first place (through good infection prevention and control, including vaccination), to monitor the emergence and spread of AMR through strengthened surveillance, and to minimise release of antimicrobials and resistance into the environment.
  2. Optimising the use of antimicrobials – through ensuring antimicrobials are only used when needed in humans, animals and the environment.
  3. Investing in innovation, supply and access – by supporting and incentivising the development of new vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutics (including alternatives to antimicrobials), making them accessible to those who need them, and ensuring our work on AMR is informed by cutting edge research.
  4. Being a good global partner – maintaining the UK’s role as an international leader on AMR and supporting low and middle income countries to respond to the threat of AMR through research, good supply chains and access to antibiotics.

Further information on the government’s new five-year AMR plan can be found here

Infex Therapeutics is a leading clinical-priority UK infectious diseases company, with a broad and diverse pipeline of innovative best-in-class and first-in-class drug candidates to address the urgent global threat from AMR, and the shortage of novel anti-infective treatments. The Company is building a differentiated pipeline through in-house drug discovery, acquisition, co-development and in-licensing of early stage/pre-clinical candidates, developing them to clinical proof of concept before licensing to commercial pharma partners. Infex’s lead programs to counter AMR are RESP-X and MET-X.

RESP-X is a Phase 2a first-in-class immune infection antibody in-licensed from Japanese pharma company Shionogi targeting chronic Pa bacterial infections in NCFB patients. Colonisation with Pa increases the severity of NCFB, leading to recurring episodes of life-threatening infection. There are currently at least eight million NCFB patients in major global markets, of which 30% have chronic Pa colonisation. Despite its prevalence and severity, there are currently no approved treatments for Pa colonisation in NCFB patients.

MET-X is a resistance bypass treatment which targets Gram-negative Enterobacterales. These pathogens produce MBL enzymes to deactivate beta-lactam antibiotics and evade antibiotic clearance of disease. MET-X blocks MBL resistance, restoring antibiotic activity. The drug is being developed to be one of the first broad-spectrum MBL inhibitors to address a wide range of bacterial species and drug-resistant strains. The treatment has shown best-in-class performance in animal studies to date and is currently undergoing pre-clinical safety evaluation with clinical studies planned for 2025. The management of antibiotic resistance in Gram-negative Enterobacterales is a World Health Organisation (“WHO”) critical priority.

Dr Peter Jackson, CEO of Infex Therapeutics, commented: “The UK government is leading the response to antimicrobial resistance, and we welcome its continued commitment. AMR is one of the most dangerous global health challenges and global government support and collaboration is essential if we are going to beat it. Developing innovative new treatments and restricting their use to prevent resistance is critical. We are very encouraged to see the potential expansion of the UK’s subscription model, which is the first of its kind and would see more companies paid a fixed annual fee for antimicrobials based on value as opposed to volume, which is key to incentivising the development of new treatments.”