About 10-years ago, one of the major funders in this space asked me this question and I replied that I would give to Chemistry at the University of Oxford to find out if the clinical utility of beta-lactam antibiotics could be extended and to start to search for alternative clinically useful penicillin binding protein inhibitors.
My reason was that beta lactams have been the most successful antibiotic class and that we are likely to need them or a similar replacement in 30, 100 or 300-years.
Much to my surprise, last year, Ineos had the insight to do just this - £100m to create the Ineos Oxford Institute, which will focus on antimicrobial resistance. Although they have probably spread their remit a little widely, covering animal and human therapeutics, international surveillance, education and policy, this is without doubt an outstanding investment.
We just need more of the same, at every major University worldwide, not just by super-rich corporations, but also through charities and taxes to create the critical mass of excellence, eventually experience and ultimately output and impact that we need to address antimicrobial resistance for the long term.
The next post will look at what collaborative research can achieve with this type of funding.