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European Biopharmaceutical Review

Back to the Future

Globally, levels of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) are rising, and the shortage of effective medicines to treat microbial diseases such as pneumonia is severe. New approaches and innovations are urgently needed, but, for this to be realised, the way antibiotics are defined needs to change. Classes of medicines, such as vaccines and other immunotherapies, need to be brought into the fold. The challenge is that such new therapies will only progress to the clinic if stronger global efforts and financial support programmes encourage small enterprises to enter the market.

Using pneumococcal pneumonia as an example, this article explores the promising approaches that could prevent and cure this disease in vulnerable and developing populations and looks at the broader context of developing immunotherapeutic approaches to tackle growing levels of antimicrobial resistance.

Moving Beyond the Traditional


Given the increased threat of AMR, expanding the scope and classes of antimicrobial treatments beyond traditional smallmolecule drugs is important. Traditional antibiotics are facing increased resistance, and a spectrum of other treatments could play a significant role in combatting the rise of multi-drugresistant strains. Non-traditional classes of antibiotics include a wide range of combination therapies, phage therapy and immunotherapies such as antisera, antibodies and, particularly, vaccines given their preventive nature.

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Jonas Elliott Gerson is co-founder and Director of Operations at PnuVax SL Biopharmaceuticals, Canada. He oversees product licensing, manufacturing and delivery of vaccines, including those for pneumonia and yellow fever. Jonas’s previous roles have included biopharmaceutical engineering and fuel cell research. He has an MASc in chemical engineering from Queen’s University, Canada.

Dr Donald Gerson is President and Chief Executive Officer of PnuVax SL Biopharmaceuticals, Canada, and has many years’ experience in vaccine and biopharma manufacturing management. He is former President and Chief Operating Officer of Celltrion and was previously Managing Director for manufacturing at Wyeth-Lederle Vaccines and Pediatrics. Donald has produced many vaccines to prevent and treat bacterial infections, as well as experimental vaccines for HIV and other diseases. Donald has also designed and constructed many biotech facilities around the world. He has a PhD in biophysics from McGill University, Canada.
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Jonas Elliott Gerson
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Dr Donald Gerson
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