Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is an increasingly important global health threat, but the pipeline of new antimicrobials under development is inadequate. Developing new antimicrobials is risky, with little financial reward, prompting calls for governments to adopt novel industrial and innovation policies to incentivise research and development (R&D).
China has a history of ‘mission-driven’ approaches to industrial and innovation policy, and in biotech and pharma this is leading to rapid growth and increasing technical sophistication. However, despite a commitment to developing new antimicrobials in the country’s AMR National Action Plan (NAP), they are not a priority in its industrial and innovation policy, and companies are not highly active in this area.
The UK can take practical measures to engage with China with the aim of bringing China’s substantial research and industrial capacity into efforts to develop new drugs in the face of the impending antimicrobial crisis.