New fund takes aim at antimicrobial resistance

July 10, 2020
It’s a busy Friday. We’re taking a look at the new $1 billion industry initiative to support the antibiotic pipeline, as well as the details of the House GOP’s just-dropped tax package, which includes several benefits for drug developers. Here’s your news in around 860…
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It’s a busy Friday. We’re taking a look at the new $1 billion industry initiative to support the antibiotic pipeline, as well as the details of the House GOP’s just-dropped tax package, which includes several benefits for drug developers. Here’s your news in around 860 words, just over 4 minutes.

New fund takes aim at antimicrobial resistance

Yesterday, 20+ leading biopharmas (including many BIO members!) announced the launch of the AMR Action Fund, an initiative to support the pipeline for new antimicrobials.

The effort aims to invest nearly $1 billion to bring 2 to 4 new antibiotics to patients by the end of the decade. 

During yesterday’s virtual launch event, industry and policy leaders spoke about the looming public health threat of antimicrobial resistance (AMR), and the urgent need for new antibiotics. BIO’s Dr. Michelle McMurry-Heath was joined by former NFL player Brandon Noble, who shared his own near-death experience with MRSA, and CEOs of Eli Lilly, Merck, Pfizer, and X-Biotix spoke about the importance of collaboration and competition to fighting AMR.

Why it matters: Without new antibiotics, multidrug-resistant infections could kill more than 10 million people per year by 2050—more than the number of people we lose annually to cancer.

What they’re saying: "Industry executives and public health experts say that fixing the broken marketplace for antibiotics would require sweeping government intervention to create financial incentives for drug companies, including policy changes that would increase reimbursements for lifesaving drugs kept under lock and key and used only when existing therapies fail," reports the New York Times

Dr. Michelle’s Diagnosis: Just as we’ve seen our industry step up during the pandemic, I applaud these biopharmaceutical leaders and partners for committing to the development of new antibiotics. The AMR Action Fund will provide critical support for the development of new medicines, but it is up to policymakers to enact the long-term changes needed to support healthy, sustainable markets for the future development of new and effective antibiotics. - BIO President and CEO Dr. Michelle McMurry-Heath

 
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Learn more about the fund at www.AMRActionFund.com

Learn more about BIO’s work on AMR at WorkingToFightAMR.org.

 
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How the House GOP tax package would benefit drug R&D

Yesterday, House Ways & Means Republicans dropped a tax package that will encourage the development of new medicines for pandemic threats and encourage investment in the biotech industry. We got the scoop from our federal government affairs and tax teams. 

Two bills in the package would provide more incentives for infectious disease research. The Start-ups for Cures Act and The More Cures Act, both sponsored by Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), include enhancements to the R&D credit including an increased credit amount and refundability for qualifying research expenses.

Another encourages investment in companies engaged in infectious disease drug development. The Infectious Disease Therapies Research and Innovation Act, sponsored by Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA), helps small biotechs raise investment funds by allowing credits and losses associated with qualifying research to pass through to investors to offset other income. 

The package also includes one of BIO’s top capital formation priorities: Reform of the net operating loss (NOL) limitations under Section 382 of the tax code. 

Section 382 is an important anti-abuse measure to limit the use of a failing company’s losses by a profitable company. Unfortunately, these limits are also unintentionally triggered by investment in thriving small biotechs. The American Innovation Act sponsored by Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL) would call off Section 382 for investments during a company’s startup phase, thereby preserving these valuable tax assets and encouraging investment.

What they’re saying: “These bills are vital for America’s future in order to increase investment in American innovation—leading to more cures not just for COVID-19, but for any future health crisis our country may face,” said Ways and Means Republican Leader Kevin Brady (R-TX).

Why it matters: These bills will help provide liquidity for and encourage investment in pre-revenue companies developing treatments for COVID-19—and help the country and the world prepare to face future pandemic viruses. In addition, allowing startups to preserve their NOLs will help encourage investment in pre-revenue biotechs focused not only on fighting COVID-19, but also those working on all kinds of solutions to heal, fuel, and feed the world. 

 

More Health Care News:

POLITICO: Powering a new era of personalized health care
“[P]ersonalized health care is not just the treatment of the future, it’s the treatment of today thanks to the efforts of biopharmaceutical leaders like Genentech working on scientific discovery and policy reform to transform the ways we practice heath care.” 

STAT News: WHO launches independent review of the international response to the COVID-19 pandemic
“Former Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, and Helen Clark, former prime minister of New Zealand, will lead the review.”

 
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President Trump’s Friday: Heading to Florida—which continues to see record COVID-19 cases and deaths statewide—to visit U.S. Southern Command followed by a roundtable on supporting Venezuelans at the Iglesia Doral Jesus Worship Center. He’ll then head to Hillsboro Beach, near Ft. Lauderdale, to meet with supporters. In campaign news, former VP Joe Biden released comprehensive economic policy recommendations; health care is covered from pages 28-37, with drug pricing on page 32.

What’s Happening on Capitol Hill: The House is working on more FY2021 markups, while the Homeland Security Committee will hold a virtual hearing on confronting the unequal impacts of COVID-19.

 
 
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