The ARPEGE project aims to develop a set of solutions to strengthen the ability of healthcare institutions to fight antibiotic resistance. The consortium, led by Antabio, has been awarded close to €9 million in public funding under the "PSPC" call for projects conducted on behalf of the French government by Bpifrance.
In recent decades, the emergence of pathogens resistant to antibiotics has become a growing threat to global public health and carries three major risks to society:
- A strong epidemiological risk, which already results in 700,000 deaths per year worldwide. Projections suggest that by 2050, antibiotic resistance could result in up to 10 million deaths per year.
- A risk to modern medical practice in particular: chemotherapy, surgery, transplants, and other procedures all depend on the availability of effective antibiotics.
- A risk to the world economy, as additional costs for health systems of approximately 100,000 billion dollars per year1 result from antibiotic resistance.
In this context, France is actively taking part in the fight against antibiotic resistance alongside other countries such as Germany, the UK, and the USA. The four-year ARPEGE project has been funded by the French government with nearly €9 million out of a total estimated budget of €17 million.
This pioneering French initiative is coordinated by a consortium of four partners committed to tackling antibiotic resistance: Antabio, the leading partner, is a French SME dedicated to developing therapeutic solutions for infections identified as priorities by the World Health Organization (WHO); bioMérieux, is a world leader in microbiological in vitro diagnostics that develops solutions to improve patient health and consumer safety; Hospices Civils de Lyon (HCL), is the second largest French university hospital, jointly with the International Centre for Infectious Disease Research (CIRI), which focuses on understanding, prevention, and treatment of infectious diseases; Toulouse School of Economics (TSE), is one of the world's top 10 research and teaching centers in economics, with 150 researchers working alongside Jean Tirole, winner of the 2014 Nobel Prize in Economics.
The ARPEGE consortium offers a unique multisectoral approach in four priority areas:
- Expanding the arsenal of effective antibiotics, which is urgently needed to ensure improved patient care. Through its drug candidate ANT3310 Antabio aims to offer an innovative treatment option for infections caused by pathogens identified by the WHO as priority pathogens. According to Marc Lemonnier, CEO of Antabio: “As we face a historic pandemic, ARPEGE is creating the synergies needed for a coordinated and effective French response to another imminent global challenge: antibiotic resistance. The €5.5 million public funding for Antabio will allow us to continue the development of ANT3310 towards clinical studies and reach crucial milestones such as the clinical demonstration of its safety and tolerability in humans.”
- Improving diagnostic through a targeted and informed approach to antibiotic prescription, thanks to a sequencing-based software solution enabling new-generation susceptibility testing to obtain the resistance profile of a specific pathogen. François Lacoste, Executive Vice President, R&D, bioMérieux: “The fight against antibiotic resistance is a strategic focus for our company and represents 75% of our R&D activities. With ARPEGE, bioMérieux is committed to the development of diagnostic solutions that are able to simultaneously process a very large amount of data by using artificial intelligence. This type of diagnostic solution with high medical and economic value will optimize patient care and reduce associated costs for healthcare systems.”
- Preventing bacterial transmission in hospitals through early and automated detection of epidemics and potential at-risk situations (the EpiTrack solution by HCL and bioMérieux). According to Jean-Philippe Rasigade, a bacteriologist at HCL’s Infective Agents Institute: “The Covid-19 pandemic has shown that it is essential to detect epidemic outbreaks early on to enable control strategies. This need for surveillance and rapid detection is equally crucial to combat the spread of resistant bacteria. By accelerating the development of EpiTrack, a fully automated real-time epidemic surveillance system, ARPEGE and its industrial partners are giving HCL and CIRI a major opportunity to strengthen the fight against antibiotic resistance, for the safety and wellbeing of our patients.”
- Developing new economic models capable of sustainably enhancing the value of innovations that are needed in the fight against antibiotic resistance. According to Jean Tirole, Honorary President of TSE and winner of the 2014 Nobel Prize in Economics: “Antibiotic resistance is a major problem for society, and my colleagues and I are excited to place economic science in support of ARPEGE in order to offer long-term solutions that will deliver improved global health.”
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