Why antimicrobial resistance is an opportunity for biotech

Antibiotic resistance has been pegged as one of the greatest threats to global public health. In the last decades, the emergence of multi-drug-resistant viral strains has resulted in growing healthcare expenses, chronic illness, disability and death. While there has been some movement regarding drug discovery and innovative treatment options, wily resistance mechanisms continue to emerge and spread. 

Antibiotic resistance is deadly. At least 700 000 deaths per year are attributable to antibiotic-resistant strains. This number is predicted to increase to 10 million deaths annually by 2050. 

Biotech has a major role to play in the discovery of innovative treatment options 

In particular, emerging antibiotic resistance markers must be identified, novel therapeutic methods developed and rapid detection methods prioritized. In addition, clinically relevant, antibiotic-resistant reference strains are needed in assay development and drug discovery. 

Ironically, the pharmaceutical industry has lessened its antibiotic production owing to economic constraints and growing biological resistance mechanisms. Humans have overused and misused these drugs, once considered miracles in safely and effectively treating infections. 

Biotech and life science entrepreneurs are ideally placed for the boom in R&D

Market Demand

Antimicrobial resistance is a growing global threat, and new antibiotics and other antimicrobial treatments are urgently needed. 


The challenge of antimicrobial resistance requires innovative solutions, which presents an opportunity for biotech and life science entrepreneurs. 

Several US undergraduate students at Stanford University initiated a biotech startup to develop new antibiotics for drug-resistant superbugs. 

The young biotech entrepreneurs decided to focus on two strains of bacteria resistant to almost every existing antibiotic. These strains also had high mortality rates – the Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Acinetobacter baumannii

The students designed a scientific plan that showcased molecular designs for new antibiotics, a plan to clinically test them and a budget for the project. They found that multi-drug resistant bacteria was a “huge area of need” but neglected by the pharmaceutical industry. This is because of a smaller market size, the expectation of low pricing and the development of further resistance. 

But, new antimicrobial resistance therapies have economic and health benefits

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention says that drug-resistant infections are responsible for $4.6 billion in treatment costs. By developing new treatments and therapies for antimicrobial resistance, biotech and life science entrepreneurs can significantly impact public health. 

Innovation will preserve other medical advances

Many medical advances, such as joint replacements, organ transplants and cancer therapy, depend on the ability to fight infections using antibiotics. Developing new antimicrobial agents can help preserve these medical advances by ensuring that infections can be effectively treated. 

There are mindblowing antimicrobial resistance treatments being explored

Some of these treatments and therapies against deadly pathogens include:

  1. Alternatives to new drugs

Alternatives to new antibiotic and antifungal drugs, such as vaccines to combat infections that can develop antimicrobial resistance, are being explored. In other words, infections can be prevented before they happen. 

  1. Futuristic non-antibiotic therapies

These therapies include stem cell AMPs, CRISP-Cas, probiotics and nanobiotics. 

  1. Peptides and complexes

Peptides and complexes are being explored as new therapies to combat multidrug-resistant bacteria. 

You can take informed risks with Similari

Developing antimicrobial resistance therapies presents a major opportunity for life sciences organizations with an eye toward lucrative innovation. But in order to avoid patent thickets, duplication and overlap and to help identify the true white spaces, you need the right insights management tools. 

Similari can equip you with the tools to take informed risks regarding antimicrobial resistance drug discovery, research and development.  Using Similari’s AI engine, you can keep abreast of the latest emerging news, developments and insights in the sector.  Get in touch for a demo today to find out how Similari can help you identify lucrative gaps.