Gabriela Juarez Martinez, KTN, comments on the recent Expert Mission to Germany focused on innovation opportunities in Antimicrobial Resistance.

Background

In May 2019, my colleague Dr. Sandeep Sandhu, KTN international team and I, KTN Health team joined forces with our colleagues Sarah Fowkes, Science and Innovation Network and Laurie Williams, Department of International Trade based in Germany to bring together a delegation of UK sector experts to meet with their German counterparts. Our delegation included representatives from BIVDA, Destiny Pharma, Summit Therapeutics, the University of Edinburgh, The University of Oxford AMR-Insights (technical writer) and Innovate UK.

The UK is a globally recognised leader in AMR. Since 2013 it has invested £44m to support UK interdisciplinary research projects and £21m to assist companies in developing new AMR related therapies and diagnostics. In recognition to AMR’s global dimension, it has committed £41m to support the EU Joint Programme Initiative in AMR (JPIAMR) the Department of Health and Social Care has invested £20m in the UK-China AMR and the SBRI: AMR in Humans. The UK is currently piloting a programme to improve market pull incentives.

In January 2019, the UK government published its 20-year vision for AMR “a world in which antimicrobial resistance is effectively contained, controlled and mitigated by 2040” as well as its five-year action plan.

Germany is also a key player in AMR; its Federal Ministry of Health invested more than EUR 56 million to fund the German Antibiotic Resistance Strategy to develop new treatments for bacterial infections and currently hosts the secretariat for the Global AMR Research and Development Collaboration Hub.

Innovation in Germany

This Expert Mission aimed to better understand the German AMR innovation landscape and identify synergies and opportunities for both countries to further drive the global AMR agenda.

The AMR centres of excellence and companies working in this area were scattered across Germany. It was a very intense week involving a substantial amount of travel. We covered six German regions: Brandenburg, Berlin, Thuringia, Baden-Württemberg, Hesse and North Rhine-Westphalia, which gave us a good idea of the AMR innovation landscape in Germany.

We had the opportunity to meet with representatives from SMEs and large diagnostics and pharmaceutical companies. It was great to see that some of the large companies are family owned and committed to improving the local economy. We also noticed a good knowledge of the actors in each region, but several organisations mentioned that they could benefit from a “network of networks” model, such as the KTN, that could link them all.

We met the ministries for health (BMG) and research and education (BMBF), the Global AMR R&D Hub, as well as the Robert Koch Institute (equivalent to Public Health England); the latter is setting up an office for international cooperation and was very interested in exploring further synergies with the UK. We learned about the unique InfectoGnostics PPP initiative in Jena that brings together industry, hospital (Centre for Sepsis Control and Care) and engineering (especially optics/photonics) to develop new methods for infection diagnosis.

We also met with many excellent research groups, including the Fraunhofer IZI-BB, Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, and the German Centre for Infection Research. Overall there was a keen interest and many potential opportunities for collaborations with the UK.

BIG THANKS to all our delegates for their expert contributions, time and enthusiasm that made this mission possible.

Dr Elena Breidenstein, Associate Director, Summit Therapeutics:

“The Global AMR Expert Mission to Germany was a great opportunity to bring together stakeholders from the UK and Germany, and to understand the strengths and limitations of national strategies to tackle AMR. Fostering relationships between the UK and Germany may identify areas where synergy can be achieved to help address the global AMR problem.”

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The value of the Global Expert Missions

Innovate UK’s Global Expert Missions programme is one of its most important tools to support the UK Industrial Strategy’s ambition for the UK to be the international partner of choice for science and innovation.

Global collaborations are crucial in meeting the Industrial Strategy’s Grand Challenges and will be further supported by the launch of a new International Research and Innovation Strategy.

Innovate UK’s Global Expert Missions, led by KTN, play an important role in building strategic partnerships, providing deep insight into the opportunities for UK innovation and shaping future bilateral collaboration programmes.

We are expecting some future opportunities for international collaboration in AMR; please keep an eye on our website and health newsletter for more information.

For more information on:

AMR activities – please contact Gabriela Juarez Martinez

Global Expert Missions Рplease contact the KTN International Team

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