Dr. John H. Rex, MD, has worked in the antimicrobial resistance (AMR) field his entire career. In this podcast, he explains key elements in antimicrobial drug development.
Dr. Rex has several roles, including Chief Medical Officer of F2G, Ltd, which is an antifungal biotech company; Operating Partner for Advent Life Sciences; and Adjunct Professor of Medicine at McGovern Medical School. He began his career as an academic medic focusing on new drugs for fungal infections. He then became head of Anti-Infection Development at AstraZeneca for several years before leaving to take on freelance roles and his work at F2G, Ltd.
He explains the difficulty of drug development for fighting bacteria by describing the three challenges of antibiotic development: antibiotics are hard to discover, hard to develop, and nobody pays for them. He offers an analogy to explain these challenges: antibiotics are the fire extinguishers of medicine. We need to be willing to pay for their very existence though we may not use them. He describes the push and pull maneuvers in the drug development industry and what must happen for both efforts.
He also tells listeners about the nature of bacteria, fungi, and viruses, and how their different functions mean different efficacies and ease of drug developments to treat resulting infections. A fungus and bacterium, for example, though challenging, don’t equal what developers face when trying to fight a virus. Therefore, while the development of drugs for a fungal infection are difficult as are the outlooks for new antibiotics, viral infections present the greatest challenge. Yet, he says, the path forward is not bleak, just tough.
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