A total of 23 biopharmaceutical producers have committed capital to the vehicle, which will provide funding for the creation of new antibiotics.

Switzerland-based investment fund Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Action Fund has launched with almost $1bn in capital from biopharmaceutical companies to invest in developers of new antibiotics.

AMR Action Fund is intended to operate as a partnership between 23 biopharmaceutical companies with the aim of bringing two to four new antibiotics to market by 2030. It is expected to formally commence operations in the fourth quarter of this year.

Pfizer, Merck & Co and Johnson & Johnson have each pledged $100m in capital for the initiative while Boehringer Ingelheim is providing $50m and Daiichi Sankyo and Shiniogi are putting up $20m each.

Novo Nordisk, Leo Pharma, Lundbeck and Novo Nordisk Foundation are combining to jointly invest about $76m. Novartis, Almirall, Bayer, Roche, Amgen, GlaxoSmithKline, Eli Lilly, Merck Group, Takeda, Eisei, Chugai, Menarini, Teva and UCB are also backing the fund.

The initiative is being launched as increased AMR among viruses and bacteria is reducing the effectiveness of existing antibiotics. Some 700,000 patients die from AMR each year, a figure expected to rise to up to 10 million by 2050.

Albert Bourla, Pfizer’s chairman and CEO, said: “As the Covid-19 pandemic has shown, we must invest in the development of medicines now so that we are prepared to help prevent the next public health crisis.

“We strongly believe the world cannot tackle the growing threat of AMR without collaboration – and that it will take a combination of prevention measures, responsible stewardship and innovative thinking to overcome existing obstacles.

“The new AMR Action Fund gives us the vehicle to do that by investing in and stimulating a potentially stronger pipeline for antimicrobial medicines.”