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Star economist and former Treasury Minister Lord Jim O’Neill – a key figure behind the Northern Powerhouse – is to be a keynote speaker at the conference centred on the health threat posed by antibiotic resistance. The BioInfect conference takes place at Alderley Park in Cheshire on November 3. Mancunian Lord O’Neill is chair of the UK Review on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR). He was appointed as Treasury Minister by then Chancellor George Osborne in 2015, but resigned last month. Antibiotic resistance was declared “the greatest and most urgent global risk” to public health as recently as September 21 when, at an extraordinary gathering at the United Nations, all 193 members signed a political declaration. It commits them to creating national plans for combating antibiotic resistance in medicine, agriculture, and the environment, and to reporting back to the General Assembly in 2018 on their progress. The problem of antibiotic resistance currently claims around 700,000 lives a year globally but an independent review by Lord O’Neill for the UK government has estimated that fatalities could soar to 10 million by 2050 as we run out of effective antibiotics. Dr Geoff Davison, chief executive of the north of England industry group Bionow, which organised the event, said: “We very much welcome the attendance of Lord O’Neill, whose Review has been in the vanguard of the UK’s response to the issue, along with leading authorities and companies working in human and animal health from around the world.” Dr Neil Murray, CEO of Redx Pharma, the largest UK biotech working on the development of new antibiotics, added: “The UN session marked only the fourth time that the world body has acted on a health issue - the last time was the Ebola emergency in 2014. This year we’ve also seen new funding initiatives, such as the US-Government led CARB-X, which should help kick start more research. “Events like BioInfect have an important role to play in helping to share knowledge, educate, foster collaboration and inspire the increased innovation required to tackle this growing, multifaceted problem.” Dr Chris Doherty, managing director at Alderley Park, which is hosting BioInfect said: “2016 is shaping up to be a milestone year in the battle against AMR. “At Alderley Park we are developing a cluster of companies working on solutions to anti-microbial resistance. There are also the necessary skills and expertise here to develop new antibiotics from academic ideas and take into the clinic for testing, meaning that we are ready to help meet the global challenge posed by AMR.”To view the BioInfect Conference programme and to register for the event please go to: http://www.bionow.co.uk/events/2016bioinfectconference.aspx
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