UK boosts AMR defenses with £30m PACE initiative

In an effort to address the global health threat of antimicrobial resistance (AMR), Innovate UK, LifeArc, and Medicines Discovery Catapult have jointly launched the PACE (Pathways to Antimicrobial Clinical Efficacy) initiative. With £30m (around €34,5m) in funding, PACE aims to support early-stage innovations aimed at countering AMR.

By bringing together funding, resources, and partnerships from its three notable partners Innovate UK, LifeArc, and Medicines Discovery Catapult (MDC), PACE aims to accelerate early-stage AMR projects and strengthen the UK’s position in the life sciences. It is the UK’s largest public-private initiative targeting early-stage antimicrobial drug and diagnostic discovery to date. The initiative plans to apply insights from other fields such as cancer and COVID-19 to expedite progress. It offers comprehensive support for projects with high transformation potential, ranging from targeted treatments to rapid diagnostics. PACE has announced its first funding call with up to £10m available to support innovators developing new antimicrobials.

The UK Minister of State for Science, Innovation, and Technology, George Freeman MP, emphasised the urgency of addressing antibiotic resistance: Antibiotic resistance “is a global health timebomb: an invisible pandemic with the potential to leave mankind exposed to a new generation of superbugs we cannot treat with antibiotics.”

“That is why this £30m research funding for this work such as this is vital: bringing the brightest minds from industry, academia and the third sector together to tackle one of the great medical challenges of our age,” Freeman added. “Our life scientists did it in Covid. Now we need to do it again with AMR.”