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ANTI-SUPERBUGS Precommercial procurement

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - ANTI-SUPERBUGS PCP (ANTI-SUPERBUGS Precommercial procurement)

Okres sprawozdawczy: 2017-12-01 do 2022-02-28

The current global pandemic provoked by COVID-19 has brought into sharp focus the importance of effective infection detection and control systems in controlling the rapid spread of infections, avoiding healthcare collapse and strengthening the health system by reinforcing the preparedness and ensuring its resilience, contributing to the latter to the priorities now in the EU Health Policy.

Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) occurs when bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites change over time or no longer respond to available drugs or treatments, making infections harder to control and increasing the risk of disease spread, severe illness and death. In 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) named AMR in the 10 most urgent threats that will demand attention from WHO and health partners. It is estimated to be responsible for over 25,000 deaths per year in the EU alone and 700,000 deaths per year globally. and might cause more deaths than cancer by 2050.

Additionally, it pushes up the cost of treatment and diminishes resources and productivity; in the EU it is estimated that AMR already costs in excess of 1.5 billion euros annually in healthcare costs and productivity losses. Furthermore, current COVID-19 pandemic situation is exacerbating AMR. Data from some EU countries suggest that 6.9% of COVID-19 diagnoses are associated with bacterial infections (3.5% diagnosed concurrently and 14.3% post-COVID-19), with higher prevalence in patients who require intensive critical care. In the same study, it is reported that 72% of COVID-19 patients received antibiotics even when not clinically indicated, which can also promote resistances.

With the aim to contribute to fight described problematic, main objectives of ANTI-SUPERBUGS PCP were:

• The creation and consolidation of a pan-European network of procurers, who, by sharing their needs and efforts can enable the development of novel technologies aimed to cover bigger market challenges in areas of common European interest.

• The definition of the cross-border and joint pre-commercial public procurement procedure that best met ANTI-SUPERBUGS PCP procuring authorities’ needs and that addressed the major societal challenge selected, supported to early detection and of antibiotic-resistant bacteria or the support to health-care associated infections prevention.

• The mutual learning, knowledge sharing and transferring within the consortium and across different fields, technologies and procurement disciplines (social, economic, legal, technical) and EU countries.
ANTI-SUPERBUGS PCP project officially started in September 2016 and worked towards:

1) the consolidation of the group of buyers willing to co-invest the 30% (1.033.987,50€) of the overall pre-commercial procurement volume (3.446.625,50€) in agreement with their own possibilities and their business cases. At the end of this consolidating process, the Buyers Group resulted to cover 4 countries (ES, IT, DE and UK).

2) the definition of the challenge in agreement with the progressive buyers’ incorporation to the buyers group. The resulting common challenge aimed and still aims to revolutionise the STATE OF THE ART by researching and developing novel solutions capable to non-invasively detect the presence of multidrug resistant organisms in hospital premises.

3) preparing the market to submit an offer to such ambitious challenge: the call was left open 90 days (30 days additional to the ones requested as minimum in the Grant Agreement) to enable interested economic operators to build up consortia to come up with relevant and competitive offers. Such strategy resulted successfully and offers were received from 6 different bidders, 5 of them being consortia (1 of two entities, 2 of three entities, 1 of four entities and 1 of five entities). Overall the bidding economic operators behind the 6 bidders were 18 coming from 5 European countries (ES, IT, P, DE and IE).

Phase 1 contracts were signed on March 16th 2020, simultaneously with the start of COVID-19 pandemic outbreak across Europe. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic crisis had a very strong impact on the ANTI-SUPERBUGS PCP project progress. The availability of ANTI-SUPERBUGS PCP partners personnel also was reduced, because working mainly in the in healthcare service provision and in the areas of nosocomial infections. Moreover the impossibility to travel and have in-person meetings forced the reorganization of the way of working.

Despite the difficulties foreseen by contractors, Buyers Group, Consortium, the two Phase 3 (Bugwatcher and Sens4Care) deployed their first set of prototypes to prove their ability to non-invasively detect the presence of given MDROs in the real context at the facilities of Helios Universitätsklinikum Wuppertal (Germany), Provincia autonoma di Trento (Italy) and Fundació Assistencial Mútua de Terrassa (Spain).
With the work performed in ANTI-SUPERBUGS PCP and Phase 3 pilot demonstration, contractors achieved to increase the technology maturity of their technologies up to TRL5-TRL6 and will now pursue working on the next steps with the aim to keep increasing their solutions maturity and achieve business successes. Current developments may also have an impact on the rapid and non-invasive detection of other airborne pathogens, including the ones associated with Sars-CoV-2 infections.

Based on achieved results, ANTI-SUPERBUGS PCP contributed to give response to current problematic of antimicrobial drug resistance (AMDR), named in the 10 most urgent threats that will demand attention from WHO and European Commission health bodies.

ANTI-SUPERBUGS PCP dissemination, networking and exploitation activities contributed to raise awareness among European procurement organisations that share this same need, highlighting the fact that AMR is one of the most important challenges that are present in the political agenda within the general strategy of the European Union (EU).

As a result of these activities, a cross-border Buyers Group composed of four public organisations from three different European countries (France, Spain and Italy) is collaboratively working to act as early adopters and promote innovation, through the identification, evaluation and procurement of innovative solutions that will address their common needs related to the AMR field.

With RaDAR-PPI leveraging from the results of ANTI-SUPERBUGS PCP, the market will go a step ahead current state of the art in providing innovative solutions and ANTI-SUPERBUGS PCP contractors have a concrete opportunity to compete and offering their solutions.

The activities performed along overall PCP procedure can be considered successful when comparing achieved results against the proposed objectives in the different categories within the ANTI-SUPERBUGS PCP Evaluation Framework. Given the way in which the Evaluation Framework was designed, this achievement positively impacted in the consecution of proposed objectives in the launched Request for Tender and, ultimately, in the project Grant Agreement.

Lastly, the ANTI-SUPERBUGS PCP Evaluation comprised Buyers Group, Lead Procurer and final contractors’ perspectives and considerations across and overall the PCP procedure. The resulting set of lessons learned can be of support to procurement organisations, research organisations and supply chain representatives when facing a Pre-Commercial Procurement procedure.
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