New collaboration platform to optimise antibiotic use

14 June 2017

Healthcare needs access to many different antibiotics, but some sorts are no longer profitable for pharmaceutical companies. PLATINEA, the new platform for collaboration, will help identify the gap between needs and available antibiotics. It offers a forum where the relevant stakeholders can meet and work for the long-term goal of optimising antibiotic use, thereby extending the lifespan of existing antibiotics.

Increasingly, bacteria are becoming resistant to various types of antibiotics. Health services therefore need access to a range of different preparations. Pharmaceutical companies often choose not to further develop and supply existing unprofitable antibiotics, and the risk is therefore that antibiotics required in healthcare become unavailable. Recently, this problem has arisen with ceftibuten (Cedax) , an important antibiotic used in treating urinary tract infections. To date, moreover, there has been no arena of joint efforts to keep developing existing antibiotics through new preparations and more personalised dosage, for example.

PLATINEA (PLATform for INnovation of Existing Antibiotics) is a collaboration platform aimed at ensuring that the need for these antibiotics is continuously identified and met. The participants in PLATINEA are Uppsala University (through Uppsala Antibiotic Center), Link√∂ping University, Uppsala University Hospital and the Dutch company Mylan NV (which acquired the Swedish company Meda AB in 2016).  Several other stakeholders active in the field of antibiotics, such as other antibiotics suppliers, relevant government agencies and representatives of the medical profession, will also be engaged in PLATINEA collaboration. An initial workshop was held  on 7 June 2017.

The platform idea was conceived during discussions at an AIMday event. Uppsala University’s AIMday concept is that organisations and academic researchers meet in small groups to discuss specific issues. At the event, Mylan asked two questions: how to stimulate further development of existing antibiotics and how to safeguard the supply of important ones. Discussions with researchers and doctors highlighted the lack of systems and processes for clearly identifying care needs and then linking them to skills and knowledge in academic, clinical and industrial environments to bring about antibiotics that meet these needs. PLATINEA was then proposed in the belief that a platform structure could fill this vacuum and stimulate interaction among the various stakeholders.

“It’s very difficult to get all the interested parties – in the care sector, public agencies, academia and industry – together to discuss and agree on how, in practice, we can tackle the problem of further development and supply of antibiotics. Interaction among the sectors (industry, academia, healthcare and agencies) is problematic because of the risk of conflicts of interest, for instance. With the PLATINEA solution, the platform is run by an independent institute at the University, Uppsala Antibiotic Center, representing a neutral meeting-place for the various stakeholders,” says Enrico Baraldi, project manager for the new platform and Professor at the Department of Engineering Sciences.

The project to establish the collaboration platform has received support from Sweden’s Innovation Agency, Vinnova.