Pharmaceutical Companies- Antibiotics

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Pharmaceutical Companies- Antibiotics

We found that there are 5 major biotech companies that manufacture antibiotics and they are as follows:
1. GlaxoSmithKline
2. Johnson&Johnson
3. Roche
4. Pfizer
5. Merck
In addition, Sanofi is currently performing research on new antibiotics but have not yet reached the manufacturing stage. All 6 of these companies have more than 10,000 employees.
The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry estimates that it takes over 12 years to develop a new drug, with costs that can exceed £1.15 billion. Since antibiotics should not be used very often it can be difficult for pharmaceutical companies to recover their investments. As a result of this challenging economic model, many companies have stopped their research into antibiotics which could explain why only 6 companies were found.
We obtained the data on these companies from their corporate websites. Details on each of these companies and their work with antibiotics is detailed below.

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK)

GSK employs over 100,000 employees has been working on antibiotics for over 40 years and has a dedicated unit working on research and development of antibiotics. They also manufacture their own antibiotics, for example their antibiotic medicine Augmentin is manufactured in their United Kingdom manufacturing facilities.

GSK does its own testing and clinical trials and partners with COMBACTE (Combating Bacterial Resistance in Europe) to assist with clinical trials.
GSK is also heavily involved in work on antibiotic resistance including:
1. Signing the Declaration on Combating Antimicrobial Resistance in 1992, along with over 80 other pharmaceutical and diagnostic companies.
2. Participating in global antibiotic surveillance studies since 1992.
3. Partnering in May 2013 with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (part of the US Department of Health and Human Services) to support the development of new antibiotics.


Johnson&Johnson employs 120,000 people and are currently working on antibiotic research and have their own testing facilities. They also have existing antibiotics that they currently manufacture. Like GSK, Johnson&Johnson also signed the Declaration on Combating Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) in January 2016.


Roche re-entered the area of antibiotic research and development in 2014 when they announced a partnership with Discuva. Discuva is based in Cambridge, United Kingdom and was founded in 2009 to work on new antibiotics, particularly gram-negative bacteria like E. coli, K. pneumoniae and A. baumanii. This partnership was extended in 2017 due to a successful pilot project that produced some promising pre-clinical data for antibiotic compounds.

Roche employs over 93,000 people. They manufacture their own drugs and have their own testing labs. They currently manufacture their existing antibiotics, some of which are on the World Health Organization’s List of Essential Medicines.

Roche is also a signatory of the January 2016 Declaration on Combating Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) and, like GSK, is partnering with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority to develop new antimicrobial drugs.


Pfizer has an estimated 96,000 employees. They manufacture their own antibacterial medicines and do their own testing.
Pfizer signed the January 2016 Declaration on Combating Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) and, like GSK, is heavily involved in antimicrobial resistance surveillance.

Pfizer also met with the European Medicines Agency, United States FDA and the Japanese Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Agency in April 2017 to discuss how to improve the development of antibiotics and standardize the regulations around testing and clinical trials.


Merck employees approximately 69,000 people. They have been involved in the development and manufacture of antibacterial medicines since the 1930s. It also collaborates with antimicrobial researchers at universities like Harvard, Princeton and Yale in the development of new antibiotic drugs. Merck has its own manufacturing facilities for antibiotics and does its own testing and clinical trials.


In 2014 Sanofi began a partnership with the Fraunhofer Society to collaboratively identify and develop chemical or biological compounds as new antibiotics.
Sanofi has over 100,000 employees with 79 manufacturing facilities. They do their own testing, but their work on antibiotics is still in the research phase.

Sanofi are also signatories of the January 2016 Declaration on Combating Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR). In addition, Sanofi are working with the French Ministry of Health on antibiotic research, AMR surveillance, defining the appropriate use of antibiotics and raising awareness of AMR among the public and healthcare professionals.


In total we found 5 major biotech companies who are actively manufacturing antibiotics: GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson&Johnson, Roche, Pfizer, and Merck. Sanofi is currently in the research stage but does have the testing and manufacturing capabilities if needed. All 6 of these companies have signed the January 2016 Declaration on Combating Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) and are working on new antibiotics to address the issue of antimicrobial resistance.