German drugmaker Bayer expects the world’s largest economies to pool billions of euros in funding for the development of antibiotics against the growing threat of drug-resistant superbugs, its chief executive said on Friday.


“I expect a multinational fund for antibiotics research. One country alone can’t shoulder it,” CEO Marijn Dekkers told Germany’s Der Spiegel magazine, according to an excerpt of an interview provided to Reuters on Friday.

The funds were expected to be pledged during the June summit of the Group of Seven (G7) wealthy nations in Germany, he was quoted as saying.

He mentioned reports that four new antibiotics would cost 20 billion euros ($22.4 billion) to develop, saying that was “maybe a bit too much, but it will be really expensive”.


The World Health Organization has deemed the rising tide of drug-resistant bacteria, or so-called superbugs, as the “single greatest challenge in infectious diseases”.

Germany’s health ministry has said Berlin would seek to address drug-resistant superbugs as part of the country’s presidency of the G7, leading up to the G7 summit in Bavaria in June.


Governments should award development contracts for more antibiotics to pharmaceuticals companies, modeled on development contracts tendered to the defense industry, Dekkers told Der Spiegel.

The pharma industry has argued that the private sector was being deterred from funding the development of new antibiotics because, to prevent the emergence of even more resistant bacteria, they would only be used when existing therapies have failed


($1 = 0.8945 euros)


(Reporting by Ludwig Burger; Editing by Mark Potter)

Source: Reuters