While antibiotics are a key infrastructure underpinning modern medicine, evolution will continue to undermine their effectiveness, requiring continuous investment to sustain antibiotic effectiveness. The antibiotic R&D ecosystem is in peril, moving towards collapse. Key stakeholders have identified pull incentives such as Market Entry Rewards or subscription models as the key long-term solution. If substantial Market Entry Rewards or other pull incentives become possible, there is every reason to expect that for-profit companies will return to the antibiotic field. However, the political and financial will to develop such Market Entry Rewards or other similar incentives may be difficult to muster in the timeframes needed to prevent further diminishment of antibiotic research and development, especially if large drug companies are seen as substantial beneficiaries of these taxpayer-funded pull incentives. Bridging solutions are required from private actors in the interim. This article explores potential solutions led by private actors, including (1) traditional for-profit companies; (2) non-profit enterprises; and (3) public benefit corporations with lower profit expectations, akin to a public utility. All face similar commercial struggles, but nonprofits and public benefit corporations can accept lower profit expectations and might be more politically attractive recipients of pull incentives.
Kevin Outterson & John H. Rex,
Evaluating for-profit public benefit corporations as an additional structure for antibiotic development and commercialization
Available at: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.trsl.2020.02.006