Sandoz, a Novartis division, announced today that it extended and expanded a strategic collaboration agreement with Ares Genetics.
Basel, Switzerland-baed Sandoz’s collaboration with Ares, aimed at driving innovation to develop solutions in the fight against antimicrobial resistance (AMR), was extended through January 31, 2025.
According to a news release, the companies agreed to an extension of an existing master services agreement in recognition of the importance of surveillance data in informing better prescribing and use of antibiotics as a central part of the global AMR response strategy.
In 2016, details were released from the 2014 Review on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR), commissioned by the UK government to address the concern that superbugs, resistant to current antibiotics, could eventually evolve to the point that the drugs are no longer effective. New Atlas reported at the time that, if such issues aren’t addressed, the AMR found that such superbugs could kill up to 10 million people per year by 2050.
“Antibiotics are the cornerstone of modern medicine. AMR, which is now estimated to directly account for nearly 1.3 million deaths worldwide every year, is an unprecedented threat to global public health. As the world’s leading provider of generic antibiotics, our goal at Sandoz is to play a key role in overcoming this growing threat,” Sandoz CEO Richard Saynor said in the release. “This collaboration is a key step towards that goal, allowing us to take the fight directly to AMR by using cutting-edge big data and AI approaches combined with traditional data sets.”
Early in the collaboration, Ares developed a digital anti-infectives platform to combine established microbiology laboratory practices with advanced bioinformatics and AI methods to support the identification of effective antimicrobial compounds or compound combinations. These compounds and combinations can address critical pathogens and Sandoz can use them to drive portfolio and commercial decisions, the company said.
The next step of the collaboration is expected to further antibiotic stewardship through enabling genomic surveillance for resistant pathogens with Ares’ next-generation sequencing and bioinformatics technologies.
Financial details of the collaboration are not being disclosed at present.
“By combining our respective skillsets, we believe we can not only use diagnostic and surveillance data to help healthcare professionals make better diagnoses, but also expand our options to treat AMR in the future, by targeted repurposing of key antibiotics,” Saynor added. “Our ultimate goal is both simple and radical: to ensure we get the right medicine to the right patient at the right time.”