Our blog
Towards antimicrobial resistance success stories
Heather Graz

Good news stories about antibiotics aren’t that easy to come by amongst the plethora of reports that are published almost on a daily basis about antimicrobial resistance and its seemingly relentless march forward.

So a recent report that Welsh Health Board GPs and pharmacists had reduced both the number of antibiotic prescriptions and the associated number of reported cases of Clostridium difficile infections over the past year made for heartening reading.

For me, however, the good news that caught my eye in this piece was not only the reduction in numbers over this period of time but also the manner in which these improvements had been achieved.

A closer look at the story shows at least four examples of best practice being put into action to boost the probability of bringing about long-term change in how antimicrobial resistance is managed in the region.

Working together towards a common goal

Beating antimicrobial resistance is something that needs to be done as a collective rather than in separate groups. In this instance, doctors, pharmacists and patients worked together to find and use alternative resources and avenues of intervention to manage infections. Their common aim of using antibiotics only for patients with bacterial infections broadened the arsenal available to them for managing infectious disease effectively.

Improving diagnosis of bacterial infections

Much novel diagnostic technology is currently being designed and developed that will allow better differentiation between bacterial- and other causes of infection. Initiatives are also underway to increase these technologies’ uptake by healthcare service providers so that patients can access and benefit from them.

In the report, Welsh GP’s and pharmacists’ combined use of new diagnostic technology together with established procedures and clinical judgement gave a solid foundation to make decisions about which patients would be most likely to benefit from antibiotics. This a step forward towards the aim of using antibiotics only for patients with bacterial infections.

Using data to guide our ongoing efforts

The scientific approach is essentially a data-driven methodology that aims to better understand and overcome uncertainty. Ironically, the specific extent of antimicrobial resistance in and across communities is often not well understood and outcomes of interventions are often uncertain.

This example of healthcare practitioners streamlining regional practice on the basis of designated, region-specific data forms a strong baseline for monitoring progress made on their specific interventions and for increasing predictability of outcomes.

Taking ownership

For me the most heartening aspect of this report was the way in which the Health Boards took ownership both of the problem to be solved and for looking for appropriate solutions.

There is increasingly a recognition in the healthcare industry that a “one-size-fits-all” solution to managing antimicrobial resistance is not feasible. Whilst several broad principles and strategies have proven to be effective, managing antimicrobial resistance effectively will ultimately require tailoring of these strategies within specific contexts.

In practice, this is likely to entail both using what is available at one’s disposal as well as courage to re-imagine and try new ways of doing things, always against a backdrop of uncertainty. This can only happen if all parties take ownership of both the challenge of and solutions for antimicrobial resistance.

Managing antimicrobial resistance in everyday life can only be achieved with a team effort. One way of taking ownership of the process, working towards a common goal and generating the necessary technical advances along this journey may well be facilitated by sharing stories of success or caution.

We would love to hear your thoughts and stories. Feel free to let us know.

Comments

No comments available

Note: All comments will be moderated before being published.
Into 2019 - Thoughts for the New Year
Heather Graz

With the holiday season winding down, it is time to pick up where 2018’s business activities left off. Going into the new year always brings with it both a chance to reflect on the outcomes of the past 12 months and opportunity to start realising the planned and emergent business opportunities for the upcoming 12 months.

2018 saw highlights across several areas at Neem Biotech. Existing networks were strengthened and new relationships developed that gave opportunity to extend our reach and impact in the field of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). We were awarded grant funding in excess of £600 000. Together these successes culminated in exciting, robust and potentially ground-breaking science being produced in our laboratories.

Changes in FDA antibiotic classification created a favourable environment that looks set to accelerate the progress of our candidate compounds towards the clinic. Emerging global antibiotic market access discussions allowed us to take an active role in the increasingly unified UK- and European-wide  AMR industry voice calling for a bespoke and fit-for-purpose antimicrobial drug development model to help avert the imminent global AMR crisis. A particular highlight in this regard was the pioneering work that we were able to carry out together with the BIA and AMR Centre.

As we look forward to the next 12 months at Neem Biotech, we have the target of doing that which we do best - translating aspirational antimicrobial solutions into reality in wound and respiratory infections - firmly set in our sights to make sure that we play our part in curtailing the spread of AMR.

With that in mind, Neem Biotech’s wish for the AMR-focused biotech and pharma industry would be a year of strong science R&D and creation of a concrete and bespoke business model for development of antimicrobial interventions in 2019.

We would love to hear what a successful 2019 would look like from your standpoint.

Comments

No comments available

Note: All comments will be moderated before being published.
The value of antibiotics
Heather Graz

It is increasingly widely accepted that, in the evolving world of healthcare and health economics, a way of demonstrating value is essential. Exactly how this concept of value should be defined and, on a more practical note, how it can best be quantified, remains to be agreed.  

This lack of consensus has significance across all avenues of drug development. It has even more significant implications, though, for the development of new antimicrobial measures, where a particularly stark tension exists between supply- and demand-related factors.

Scenarios, for example, where it is cheaper to buy antibiotics than to pay for clean water reflect this disparity at a practical level. They highlight the need for workable solutions to be found that address both the scientific and the economic aspects of developing and delivering new and improved antimicrobial interventions.

Much is being done at a grassroots level to meet this challenge head on. Recommendations from the recent O’Neill reports highlight a broad range of intervention avenues for both industry and public healthcare players to adopt. These cross disciplines and include scientific, policy and financial recommendations. The need to revisit reimbursement and funding options for developers of new solutions is recognised amongst these. More discussion than action has however taken place around this hurdle. At the heart of this situation lies the need for a satisfactory way to be developed to allow us to quantify the communal and individual value of antimicrobial interventions.

Ultimately, the challenge of managing antimicrobials in modern society may well depend in large part on how the economics of the situation are handled. Some commentators have said that what is needed is a workable reimbursement programme that is accepted globally. Is this realistic or too big an ask and how do we align and combine subjective and objective components of the concept of value into a tool with universal applicability? Time will tell. In the meantime, feel free to join the conversation about what value looks like in the development of novel antimicrobial interventions.

Comments

No comments available

Note: All comments will be moderated before being published.

Our blog
Towards antimicrobial resistance success stories
Heather Graz

Good news stories about antibiotics aren’t that easy to come by amongst the plethora of reports that are published almost on a daily basis about antimicrobial resistance and its seemingly relentless march forward.

So a recent report that Welsh Health Board GPs and pharmacists had reduced both the number of antibiotic prescriptions and the associated number of reported cases of Clostridium difficile infections over the past year made for heartening reading.

For me, however, the good news that caught my eye in this piece was not only the reduction in numbers over this period of time but also the manner in which these improvements had been achieved.

A closer look at the story shows at least four examples of best practice being put into action to boost the probability of bringing about long-term change in how antimicrobial resistance is managed in the region.

Working together towards a common goal

Beating antimicrobial resistance is something that needs to be done as a collective rather than in separate groups. In this instance, doctors, pharmacists and patients worked together to find and use alternative resources and avenues of intervention to manage infections. Their common aim of using antibiotics only for patients with bacterial infections broadened the arsenal available to them for managing infectious disease effectively.

Improving diagnosis of bacterial infections

Much novel diagnostic technology is currently being designed and developed that will allow better differentiation between bacterial- and other causes of infection. Initiatives are also underway to increase these technologies’ uptake by healthcare service providers so that patients can access and benefit from them.

In the report, Welsh GP’s and pharmacists’ combined use of new diagnostic technology together with established procedures and clinical judgement gave a solid foundation to make decisions about which patients would be most likely to benefit from antibiotics. This a step forward towards the aim of using antibiotics only for patients with bacterial infections.

Using data to guide our ongoing efforts

The scientific approach is essentially a data-driven methodology that aims to better understand and overcome uncertainty. Ironically, the specific extent of antimicrobial resistance in and across communities is often not well understood and outcomes of interventions are often uncertain.

This example of healthcare practitioners streamlining regional practice on the basis of designated, region-specific data forms a strong baseline for monitoring progress made on their specific interventions and for increasing predictability of outcomes.

Taking ownership

For me the most heartening aspect of this report was the way in which the Health Boards took ownership both of the problem to be solved and for looking for appropriate solutions.

There is increasingly a recognition in the healthcare industry that a “one-size-fits-all” solution to managing antimicrobial resistance is not feasible. Whilst several broad principles and strategies have proven to be effective, managing antimicrobial resistance effectively will ultimately require tailoring of these strategies within specific contexts.

In practice, this is likely to entail both using what is available at one’s disposal as well as courage to re-imagine and try new ways of doing things, always against a backdrop of uncertainty. This can only happen if all parties take ownership of both the challenge of and solutions for antimicrobial resistance.

Managing antimicrobial resistance in everyday life can only be achieved with a team effort. One way of taking ownership of the process, working towards a common goal and generating the necessary technical advances along this journey may well be facilitated by sharing stories of success or caution.

We would love to hear your thoughts and stories. Feel free to let us know.


Comments

No comments available

Note: All comments will be moderated before being published.
Into 2019 - Thoughts for the New Year
Heather Graz

With the holiday season winding down, it is time to pick up where 2018’s business activities left off. Going into the new year always brings with it both a chance to reflect on the outcomes of the past 12 months and opportunity to start realising the planned and emergent business opportunities for the upcoming 12 months.

2018 saw highlights across several areas at Neem Biotech. Existing networks were strengthened and new relationships developed that gave opportunity to extend our reach and impact in the field of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). We were awarded grant funding in excess of £600 000. Together these successes culminated in exciting, robust and potentially ground-breaking science being produced in our laboratories.

Changes in FDA antibiotic classification created a favourable environment that looks set to accelerate the progress of our candidate compounds towards the clinic. Emerging global antibiotic market access discussions allowed us to take an active role in the increasingly unified UK- and European-wide  AMR industry voice calling for a bespoke and fit-for-purpose antimicrobial drug development model to help avert the imminent global AMR crisis. A particular highlight in this regard was the pioneering work that we were able to carry out together with the BIA and AMR Centre.

As we look forward to the next 12 months at Neem Biotech, we have the target of doing that which we do best - translating aspirational antimicrobial solutions into reality in wound and respiratory infections - firmly set in our sights to make sure that we play our part in curtailing the spread of AMR.

With that in mind, Neem Biotech’s wish for the AMR-focused biotech and pharma industry would be a year of strong science R&D and creation of a concrete and bespoke business model for development of antimicrobial interventions in 2019.

We would love to hear what a successful 2019 would look like from your standpoint.


Comments

No comments available

Note: All comments will be moderated before being published.
The value of antibiotics
Heather Graz

It is increasingly widely accepted that, in the evolving world of healthcare and health economics, a way of demonstrating value is essential. Exactly how this concept of value should be defined and, on a more practical note, how it can best be quantified, remains to be agreed.  

This lack of consensus has significance across all avenues of drug development. It has even more significant implications, though, for the development of new antimicrobial measures, where a particularly stark tension exists between supply- and demand-related factors.

Scenarios, for example, where it is cheaper to buy antibiotics than to pay for clean water reflect this disparity at a practical level. They highlight the need for workable solutions to be found that address both the scientific and the economic aspects of developing and delivering new and improved antimicrobial interventions.

Much is being done at a grassroots level to meet this challenge head on. Recommendations from the recent O’Neill reports highlight a broad range of intervention avenues for both industry and public healthcare players to adopt. These cross disciplines and include scientific, policy and financial recommendations. The need to revisit reimbursement and funding options for developers of new solutions is recognised amongst these. More discussion than action has however taken place around this hurdle. At the heart of this situation lies the need for a satisfactory way to be developed to allow us to quantify the communal and individual value of antimicrobial interventions.

Ultimately, the challenge of managing antimicrobials in modern society may well depend in large part on how the economics of the situation are handled. Some commentators have said that what is needed is a workable reimbursement programme that is accepted globally. Is this realistic or too big an ask and how do we align and combine subjective and objective components of the concept of value into a tool with universal applicability? Time will tell. In the meantime, feel free to join the conversation about what value looks like in the development of novel antimicrobial interventions.


Comments

No comments available

Note: All comments will be moderated before being published.