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London/Berlin — The fight against life-threatening infections suffered another blow when one of the world’s biggest drug makers waved the white flag. Novartis is ending antibacterial and antiviral research to "prioritise resources", the company said on Wednesday. That comes after GlaxoSmithKline (Glaxo) put some antibiotics assets under review, Medicines sold its business and Sanofi shifted its portfolio to Evotec. Allergan said in May that it would leave the field and AstraZeneca, once a leader, washed its hands of antibiotics two years ago. The pullback revives concern about a world in which routine infections again become lethal as bugs develop resistance to existing drugs. Sales of new antibiotics are too low for big pharma to recoup its investments, and public measures to encourage more activity aren’t moving the needle. "The market is broken," said David Shlaes, a former pharmaceutical executive and consultant. "We’re at a point now where resistance is moving a lot faster than...

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