Emerging Antimicrobials and Diagnostics in AMR 2022

By Dr Heidi Hopkins, Associate Professor and AMR Centre member at LSHTM. 
Emerging Antimicrobials and Diagnostics in AMR 2022

With support from an AMR Centre conference attendance grant, Heidi attended the ‘Emerging Antimicrobials and Diagnostics in AMR 2022’ (EADA 2022) - a well-paced two-day meeting hosted by AMR Insights in Amsterdam, The Netherlands from 17-18 Nov 2022. 

EADA 2022 brought together representatives from private companies and public organisations involved in the development of new antimicrobial and preventive strategies, microbial diagnostics, and related platform technologies, for a series of keynote lectures, technology and product updates, networking and matchmaking (like speed dating for biotech!), and forum discussions.
The first half-day was co-hosted by Innovate UK, a part of UK Research & Innovation that supports business-led innovation in all sectors, technologies and UK agencies, including companies and academic institutions. Phil Packer, Innovate UK’s Lead for AMR and Vaccines, noted the need for national and international collaboration to address AMR, and reviewed the UK’s current AMR national action plan (2019-2024) with its eight delivery programmes (human, animal, research, regional), content areas, levers and enablers. 

The current funding round of UK’s Global AMR Innovation Fund (GAMRIF) is coming to an end, and information on future opportunities should be announced soon. A new strategic theme for Innovate UK will be “Tackling Infections” – details are under development, and new programmes will come out over the next few years. A new call for work on AMR diagnostics and surveillance is scheduled to open on 10 Jan 2023; and the UK is in the process of becoming an “associated country” for Horizon Europe, the EU Research & Innovation Programme 2021-27, with a UK information days and new calls upcoming.

Speakers from several organisations and companies gave overviews of AMR-related work, collaboration and funding opportunities:

  • Jonathan Pearce from Antibiotic Research UK described their research streams and small grants to academic researchers, and their focus on patient-led and patient-centred research and advocacy. In a theme echoed in other talks, ANTRUK field many calls from patients about complex and recurrent urinary tract infections (UTIs) – identified as a significant unmet need – as well as respiratory tract infections, and skin/soft tissue infections.
  • Andrew Wilkinson described Infex Therapeutics, an organization dedicated to infection drug discovery and development, including antibacterials for WHO critical pathogens, novel anti-virals, and antifungals. 
  • iiCON infection innovation consortium, with involvement from UKRI and academic, pharma and NHS collaborators, have development pipelines from early to clinical stages, e.g. RESP-X (novel monoclonal Ab for Pseudomonas in non-cystic fibrosis bronchiectasis), MET-X (meropenem combined with INFEX835, a metallo-B-lactamase inhibitor, to overcome  resistance to carbapenems), and others.
  • Adam Cunningham and Cal MacLennan introduced the BactiVac network, hosted at University of Birmingham. Based on the recognition that vaccines reduce the need to use antibiotics, as well as preventing infections and deaths, BactiVac started in Aug 2017 to connect experts and institutions and to accelerate development of vaccines against bacterial infections relevant to low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). They are now planning for Phase 2, with three more rounds of catalyst project funding (~50k GBP), small training awards, online courses (grant writing, project management, science communication, advocacy).
  • Till Bachmann from the University of Edinburgh Medical School noted that while rapid diagnostics were identified as priority in the O’Neill report, over the past few years there has been relatively little progress on diagnostics for AMR. He also noted that AMR diagnostics interventions often need to encompass more than just a technological tool to encompass broader aspects of care and community education. Till presented the Edinburgh AMR Forum which helps academic researchers to develop collaborations and obtain funding.
  • Claire Melville presented an overview of AMR-related biotech companies that are supported by AMR Innovation in Scotland and Innovate UK EDGE, including Microplate Dx (rapid bedside antibiotic susceptibility), Rostra Therapeutics (invasive fungal disease), Novabiotics Ltd (therapeutics), MycoBiologics (antibacterial antibodies as alternatives to antibiotics), Scottish Biologics Facility (novel antibodies for fungal infections), Centre for Bacteria in Health and Diseases (identify new antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory naturally produced molecules from environmental and gut commensals), and several others.
  • Catrin Moore reported results of the GRAM Project to estimate the global burden of AMR and considered the implications for how can we improve diagnosis and treatment for areas and infections with highest burdens. The ADILA project (AMR to inform local action) asks how we can influence local use of antibiotics, and how we can optimise use of AMR surveillance data to this end.
  • Usha Lamichhane presented the Global AMR R&D Hub and its 'Dynamic Dashboard' which collates information on AMR R&D investments, incentives for R&D, and antibacterial products in the clinical development pipeline.
  • Michael Joseph described Brunel University’s “Research Innovate Emerge – RIEm” initiative to support health- and tech-related businesses, gave some case studies that illustrate challenges and opportunities of university-business collaborations, and invited collaborations from UK-based companies working on AMR.
  • Candice King, a cystic fibrosis patient and Involvement Manager with Cystic Fibrosis Trust, described her own lifelong reliance on oral and intravenous antibiotics for chronic Pseudomonas aeruginosa with exacerbations. 
  • Martijn van Gerven from the Access to Medicine Foundation presented their three priority areas of R&D, responsible manufacturing (including waste disposal), appropriate access & stewardship.

A number of small and medium-sized companies presented on their AMR-related technologies, including Kristina Lagerstedt from 1928 Diagnostics; Philippe Ghem from Vésale Bioscience; Carl Genberg from N8 Biosciences; Michael Graz and Michael Givskov with Biophys and the University of Copenhagen; Alex McVey from Ogi Bio; Jos van der Vossen from TNO innovation for life; Ellen Van Hileghem and Maarten Hendrickx from the University of Applied Sciences with Occhio; Nicolas Loebel from Ondine Biomedical; Richard Thomas from Citrox Biosciences; Jayaseelan Murugalnay from SRM University; and JSS Hospital games for teaching clinical staff and students about antibiotics and AMR by Dr Sumana M N.

A closing forum addressed questions around how to link with and encourage AMR R&D efforts in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC) as well as high-income settings, with a common theme being the need for thoughtful de-risking of investment and entrepreneurship in LMIC settings.

If you’d like further information on the meeting, or to be put in touch with any of the presenters, you’re welcome to contact Heidi Hopkins (

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