A joint venture to create the next generation of antimicrobials, along with actionable diagnostics to fight AMR, has been announced between one French and two German companies.
Research drive biopharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim, drug discovery and development company, Evotec SE and French-based bioMérieux, an in vitro diagnostics company, made the announcement yesterday (July 6) – the resulting company will be called Aurobac Therapeutics SAS.
The new venture will combine the capabilities of the three founding companies towards developing a new precision medicine approach, from diagnosis to cure.
Public health threat
The aspiration is to succeed in the fight against AMR, which is a major public health threat. Having routine surgery such as caesarean sections or hip replacements may become life threatening, and complications from common diseases such as diabetes and injuries or cuts become harder to manage because of AMR.
Werner Lanthaler, CEO of Evotec, said: “The grim prospect of a post-antibiotic era has many causes but only one solution: The development of new, targeted, and effective antimicrobial therapies. We are excited to launch Aurobac together with our partners at Boehringer Ingelheim and bioMérieux, to combine our complementary strengths. By leveraging Evotec’s multimodality approach to infectious diseases, we are confident that Aurobac will be able to generate much-needed progress to tackle the global challenge of AMR”.
Aurobac will work to shift the strategy related to antibiotic treatment regimens, which at the moment leans heavily on empirical approaches using broad-spectrum and unfocused medicines. The goal is to turn this into a precision approach, using new highly effective and targeted modalities, combined with rapid and actionable diagnostics to quickly identify pathogens and their resistance patterns, and supported by new economic models.
Michael Pairet, head of Boehringer Ingelheim’s innovation unit, said: “The rise of antibiotic-resistant infections – also called antimicrobial resistance, or AMR – is indeed a looming global crisis. Antibiotic resistance kills about 1.27 million people globally every year1 and it has been estimated that by 2050, as many as 10 million worldwide deaths could result from AMR2, making it potentially deadlier than cancer.”
Funded by Boehringer Ingelheim as lead investor with €30 million ($30.6 million) and by Evotec and bioMérieux with €5 million ($5.1 million) each, the €40 million ($40.8 million) joint venture, which has its headquarters in Lyon, France, combines the expertise of Evotec, an active research company in infectious diseases, with bioMérieux’s expertise in infectious disease diagnostics and with Boehringer Ingelheim’s broad drug discovery and significant clinical development capabilities.
Alexandre Mérieux, chairman and CEO at bioMérieux said: “bioMérieux has a strong expertise in antimicrobial resistance. We supply the most comprehensive integrated diagnostic solutions to support an appropriate use of antibiotics (antimicrobial stewardship). Our role within the joint venture is to develop and commercialize diagnostic tests, including companion diagnostics, which deliver rapid, reliable and actionable results. This participation in Aurobac is perfectly aligned with bioMérieux’ full commitment to sustain antibiotic efficacy for future generations”.
Evotec has more than 200-strong anti-infective discovery team, the company has proven experience on multiple agent classes. On top of the company’s own pre-competitive pandemic preparedness and rapid response technology platform (“PRROTECT”), Evotec leverages its infectious disease capabilities with many industry, academic and non-profit partners and is active in a variety of networks such as the AMR Accelerator that is part of the EU’s Innovative Medicines Initiative (“IMI”).
Boehringer Ingelheim’s participation in Aurobac is part of a wider so-called pandemic preparedness initiative, which includes a € 50 million investment in the AMR action fund by Boehringer Ingelheim. Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund has committed to invest up to € 12 million in AMR infection companies.
bioMérieux has more than 55 years of diagnostics expertise with more than 75 per cent of its research and development budget focused on antimicrobial resistance. Moreover, 80 per cent of its turnover is related to the fight against AMR through a complete diagnostic solution facilitating antibiotic therapy decision-making, including antibiotic initiation, optimization, and discontinuation.