It was announced last September that the US Government would provide the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), which works on national preparedness for chemical and biological threats, funding of $96 million to explore new medical countermeasures.
Recently SMi Group, organizers of the 18th Annual Superbugs & Superdrugs conference taking place March 16-17 in London, interviewed Dr. Christopher Houchens, Project Manager of BARDA’s Anti-Infective Program.
With over 25 years of drug development experience, Houchens currently leads multiple interdisciplinary product development teams responsible for advancing the development, evaluation, and regulatory approval of novel drugs against multidrug resistant organisms, emerging infectious diseases, and bio-threat agents.
Houchens will serve as one of the keynote speakers for Superbugs & Superdrugs event in March. In the run up to the show, SMi Group spoke to him about the increasing global threat of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and his upcoming presentation.
“Antimicrobial resistance represents a serious and immediate global health threat to both developed and developing nations alike. In the U.S. alone, antimicrobial resistant bacterial pathogens are responsible for 2M infections and 23,000 deaths annually with an estimated annual economic burden of $35B,” said Houchens. “Globally, 300 million people are expected to die prematurely and GDP will be 2 to 3.5% lower due to AMR by 2050.”
“In the near future, routine medical procedures and operations that we currently take for granted may become too risky due to the high risk of death from drug-resistant bacterial infections. This is the result of the pace of antibacterial drug development not keeping pace with the rate of resistance development.”
In the interview, Houchens also describes the challenges of industry incentives and the ongoing efforts of BARDA to invest in public-private partnerships. “The US Government has demonstrated the success of such public-private partnership models by entering into collaborations with multiple industry partners that include both small biotechs, which lacked the capital and infrastructure to continue the research and development toward approval of promising products, and large pharmaceutical companies that had either abandoned or were about to leave the antibiotic development space,” said Houchens.
The full interview is available to read in the download center at www.superbugssuperdrugs.com.
Global Biodefense is an official media partner of Superbugs & Superdrugs 2016.