Message from our chairman

16 March 2021

NADP was off to good start in 2020 with a meeting in January with then Minister Bruno Bruins, together with NCOH and AMR Global, to discuss the wider AMR policy in the Netherlands, and how this could further be strengthened and further contribute at the international level. Soon after Covid-19 took over with enormous consequences on public life. This again has shown the enormous impact that infectious disease can have on the lives and well-being of people and the society as a whole.

AMR is not like a viral disease, but there are certainly important parallels in terms of the additional disease burden and the emergencies it may create for the health care systems and especially the hospitals. We had better learn the lesson on the need to be prepared for these types of situations – hence the importance to continue to focus on AMR.

The R&D processes for vaccines are somewhat different from those of medicines, but clearly the rapid development of a number of Covid-19 vaccines and bringing those to patients may hold important lessons for the R&D of new antibiotics: these include heavy investments by governments and the public sector and industry alike, close collaboration between academia and industry and regulators, upfront contracting and new payment models. At the same time there are unresolved issues: priority setting, affordability and how to roll-out vaccines worldwide, intellectual property and transfer of technology, vaccine distribution and administration schemes, and importantly communication and acceptance.

For NADP it has also been a year of bringing in the results of the 13 vouchers that were issued in 2019, and to assess the outcomes of the projects and the benefits of the voucher instrument, and to work with the investigators in order to discuss possibilities and funding for the next of the projects, where those have shown to be promising. We are pleased to see the eight NWO/TTW NACTAR projects well underway, and an additional € 1 million having been awarded to two antibiotic phase 1 clinical studies.

NADP has also been discussing with stakeholders the experiences over the last years with the R&D agenda, the voucher instrument, the funding limitations and the international networking, all with a view on options for future development. The Netherlands has a unique R&D ecosystem, with high-quality academic research, a highly entrepreneurial private sector, a government that stimulates and facilitates innovation, and numerous (semi-)public and private organisations that help drive innovation in the health sector. In 2021 we look forward to continue working with all interested parties and stakeholders to foster R&D on new antibiotics and alternatives, and contribute to containing and reducing the risks of AMR.