NATURE Reviews Drug Discovery | Twenty-four large and medium-sized pharmaceutical firms are backing a US$1 billion fund to steward antibiotics through phase II and III trials. Can they also break an antibiotic reimbursement impasse? COVID-19 has shown lawmakers just how horribly costly it is to be unprepared. There is no excuse to caught flat-footed in the face of drug resistant bacteria. Kevin Outterson says if it works, the sector can be turned around. But if it doesn’t work, there is a risk private investment goes away for a generation.