Pharmaceutical SMEs

Entasis leads in 2020, followed closely by Wockhardt. Three leaders stand out for targeting bacteria in the highest threat category defined by WHO and the CDC, and for supporting late-stage projects with plans to ensure better access and good stewardship soon after launch. Transparency in this group has improved since 2018.

Overall performance - in %

80%
75%
65%
60%
60%
50%
45%
45%
45%
45%
40%
30%
30%
EntasisWockhardtSummitMelintaTetraphaseAmplyxDebiopharmNabrivaPolyphorScynexisMotif BioAchaogenCidara
Performance in 2020 Room to improve

Research Area performance - in points

16
15
13
12
12
10
9
9
9
9
8
6
6
90 80 60 40 20 0
EntasisWockhardtSummitMelintaTetraphaseAmplyxDebiopharmNabrivaPolyphorScynexisMotif BioAchaogenCidara
R&D Appropriate Access Responsible Manufacturing Stewardship

The companies in this group were selected for having at least one investigational product in Phase II or beyond, which targets bacteria and/or fungi identified by WHO and/or US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) as threats to human health.* They are evaluated exclusively on their R&D activities, which means only 20 points are available to these companies. Entasis delivers the strongest performance, followed closely by Wockhardt. Summit follows in third, just ahead of Melinta (filed for bankruptcy in December 2019) and Tetraphase in joint fourth place.

Entasis’ R&D pipeline of four medicines exclusively targets bacteria in the highest threat category defined by WHO and CDC. For example, its most advanced project targets A. baumannii, which can cause severe drug-resistant infections including pneumonia and urinary tract infections (UTIs). Entasis stands out for supporting its two late-stage projects with plans to ensure better access and good stewardship soon after launch. This includes zoliflodacin, a novel Phase II candidate targeting gonorrhoea, which is estimated to cause 78 million infections globally.1 As a novel medicine, zoliflodacin has important differences from existing medicines, which may help to preserve its effectiveness.

Within this group, Wockhardt has one of the largest pipelines: four projects in clinical development, and five in pre-clinical stages. It has multiple projects that target bacteria in the highest threat category. For example, its medicine cefepime/zidebactam, in Phase I, targets carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, which causes diverse diseases including lower respiratory tract infections. Wockhardt is planning ahead to ensure rapid access to its four late-stage candidates: it commits to simultaneously filing the successful products for registration in India and other high-need countries. Although Wockhardt has a substantial generic medicine division, it was evaluated by the Benchmark alongside the small- and medium-sized enterprises. This enables a comparative analysis of its R&D activities.

Summit is developing three antibacterial medicines, including one in Phase III that is considered novel: ridinilazole, for C. difficile infections. Ridinilazole meets all criteria for novelty: it belongs to a new chemical class, and has a new target, mode of action and no cross-resistance. In terms of access planning, Summit has already entered into a regional licensing agreement for the medicine with Eurofarma Laboratorios, one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in Brazil and present in more than 20 countries in Latin America.

Melinta and Tetraphase are tied in fourth place, having performed well in different areas. Melinta filed for bankruptcy in December 2019. During the period of analysis, it had the largest pipeline in this group, with 11 projects, including eight in clinical development. It also reported access plans in place for its late-stage projects, but not stewardship plans. Tetraphase has a smaller pipeline, but it does have both access and stewardship plans in place to support its approved product, eravacycline. This includes a licensing agreement and plans to develop a surveillance network.

What next

The companies in this group face the challenge of commercialising new products. Without existing revenue streams and as research grants expire, they have little room for error. A handful of SMEs are at risk of following Achaogen and Melinta into bankruptcy if they cannot either divest existing products or secure the investment needed to further develop candidate products. Generic medicine manufacturers may prove powerful co-development and manufacturing partners for such companies. 

By planning ahead during product development, pharmaceutical companies can take account of public health needs and provide swifter access to new products at more affordable prices. Companies must also integrate plans for access with plans for stewardship, so that new products can be used appropriately and remain effective over time. As this group of companies brings more products through clinical development, access and stewardship planning must become standard practice, and a standard requirement from donors and investors. This will help ensure that their assets can quickly be made available to people living in low- and middle-income countries as well as those in wealthier ones, and be safeguarded to ensure they remain effective for as long as possible.  


How pharmaceutical SMEs are compared
Pharmaceutical SMEs (small- and medium-sized enterprises) are evaluated in one research area: Research & Development. Not all companies are eligible for each metric, as the AMR Benchmark only evaluates each company in metrics that are relevant to its portfolio and/or pipeline. 

As a result, companies have different maximum possible scores and room to improve. Read more about the analytical framework here.


*The WHO identified three threat levels: critical, high and medium. These correspond to the threat levels used by the CDC: urgent, serious, concerning. 


Company trends

Large R&D-based companies

GSK leads the group in 2020, followed closely by Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson. Shionogi has moved up, in front of Novartis and Otsuka. All companies in this group take diverse action to limit AMR. However, only a few continue to expand efforts to safeguard this critical area of modern medicine.

Learn more

Generic medicine manufacturers

Cipla, Teva and Fresenius Kabi take the lead in this group in 2020. All three are implementing policies that will help ensure antibacterial and antifungal medicines are promoted responsibly. Against a backdrop of greater disclosure, the leaders in this group are reported as taking additional steps against AMR compared to 2018.

Learn more

Pharmaceutical SMEs

Entasis leads in 2020, followed closely by Wockhardt. Three leaders stand out for targeting bacteria in the highest threat category defined by WHO and the CDC, and for supporting late-stage projects with plans to ensure better access and good stewardship soon after launch. Transparency in this group has improved since 2018.

Learn more

Learn more

View our detailed overview of each company’s performance

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