CeBiTec – Colloquium
Monday, 12 December, 2017, 17 c.t.
G2-104, CeBiTec Building
Dr. Thomas Becker
Pfizer Pharma GmbH, Berlin
The Antibiotic Era: New Sunrise or Final Sunset? - A Big Pharma’s Perspective
Infections have one thing in common: Someone must die – either the pathogen or the patient. The presentation starts with a journey through time back to the middle Ages. The historic example of the 14th century plague will illustrate how a future world without effective antibiotics may look like. Since the discovery of antibiotics, most infectious diseases have largely lost their deadly threat - at least in the industrialized countries. On a global level, survey data show, however, a dramatic increase in the resistance of pathogenic bacteria against almost all available antibiotics. To a lesser extent, this is also true for Germany.  Therefore, in an increasing number of clinical cases, our standard antibiotics turn out to be ineffective, especially when used against multi-resistant gram-negative bacteria. Moreover, the few remaining “last resort” antibiotics are strongly threatened by rapidly spreading new modes of resistance. There is, however, an enormous discrepancy between scientific evidence and dark public fears triggered by dramatically exaggerated and often unqualified media reports. The first part of the lecture will describe the current epidemiology of antibiotic resistance in Germany. In addition, it will outline global epidemiologic and political developments which are increasingly influencing the situation in central Europe. In contrast to the increase in antibiotic resistance, the development of new compounds has strongly declined. In fact, no new class of antibiotics was introduced during the last thirty years. The future of the antibiotic era seems even more uncertain since most “Big Pharma” companies have terminated their antibiotic research programs. The second part of the presentation will analyze the major reasons of this development. At the moment, almost all promising approaches in the virtual desperate quest for new antibiotics are based on established principles. These include the combination of tried and true ß-lactam antibiotics with novel ß-lactamase-inhibitors. The third part of the lecture will present a new option licensed in Germany last year, as well as some of the novel combinations and compounds still standing clinical trials. For the next 10-15 years, these few new antibiotics will represent the final options for critically ill patients infected by multi-resistant, gram-negative pathogens.
Host: Prof. Dr. Alfred Pühler