In Frankfurt am Main, which has a long tradition as a base for the pharmaceutical industry, Chancellor Angela Merkel found out more about research and the development of antibiotics first hand at Sofi-Aventis. Since 2014 research scientists from the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft and Sanofi, an experienced manufacturer of antibiotics, have been working together in jointly operated laboratories to develop new antibiotics to treat infectious diseases.
Cooperation between industry and the research community
In discussions with scientists at the Natural Product Center of Excellence, Angela Merkel praised the cooperation between Sanofi and the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, Europe’s largest application-oriented research organisation. "This is a very interesting collaboration between academic research and a company that actually manufactures products," said the Chancellor. "I think it points the way forward if we are to keep innovation in Europe, and in this case in Germany."
Sanofi is a leading French pharmaceutical company. Sanofi-Aventis Deutschland GmbH is based in Frankfurt-Höchst, where the company’s largest plant can also be found. About 6,900 people work at the Frankfurt facility in research and development, production and administration.
Antimicrobial resistance – a worldwide threat
Angela Merkel continued that she is "very much interested" in combating antimicrobial resistance. In the final analysis, she said it is a threat to the entire world "when antibiotics cannot be properly used and bacteria become resistant more rapidly than would otherwise be the case".
Germany is supporting the World Health Organization in its fight against resistance to antibiotics, stressed the Chancellor. The German government has put the matter on the political agenda of its G7 Presidency. Other health-related focuses include combating Ebola and the treatment of neglected, poverty-related diseases.
Research needed in the field
In Germany the government aims to forge ahead with the research and development of new antibiotics, alternative treatments and swifter testing procedures. Only a few days ago the German government adopted its own national strategy.
On 13 May the Cabinet adopted the revised German antimicrobial resistance strategy. As the Chancellor said, "No matter how carefully we use antibiotics, resistance is always going to emerge. This is why it is essential to conduct research in the field of antibiotics. I am delighted that Sanofi is doing this in such an impressive way."
Her visit to Sanofi, she continued, has further strengthened her resolve to "attach great importance to health research and the development of health and pharmaceutical products". An enabling environment must be in place for this.
Innovative production, important base
At the start of her visit Chancellor Angela Merkel opened a new production unit. The company has expanded its insulin production and invested 75 million euros at its biotech base. "Innovative production" is being conducted here, said Angela Merkel and underscored the fact that Germany is an important pharmaceutical location. Given the global competition, "we in Europe should fight to become a major base for the pharmaceutical industry".
Antimicrobial resistance is the term used to describe bacteria’s resistance to antimicrobial treatment. One major cause of this resistance is the incorrect use of antibiotics and other antimicrobial agents in human and veterinary medicine.