US and UK partnership to fund the fight against superbugs

pharmafile | March 31, 2017 | News story | Medical Communications, Research and Development CARB-X, Wellcome Trust 

The cross-Atlantic partnership CARB-X, Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria Biopharmaceutical Accelerator, has announced that it would be funding 11 biotech companies with $24 million, with a further $24 million released in payments over the next three years. On top of this, private funding means that the projects could see investment of over $75 million.

The financial support being shown to these companies is another sign of the growing awareness regarding the threat of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. With 700,000 deaths every year around the world due to ‘superbugs’, and the projection that the problem could get dramatically worse over the course of the century, time is of the essence in developing new antibiotics and treatments.

Of the 11 projects, three are developing potential new classes of small molecule antibiotics. This is particularly important given that no new antibiotic class has been discovered since 1984. Beyond this, there are projects focusing on drug resistance, with seven new bacterial targets, and four ‘innovative non-traditional products’. Eight of the projects are based in the US while three are based in the UK, and each will receive the support of drug development and regulatory services.

“CARB-X is a bold new approach to developing life-saving treatments for antibiotic-resistant infections. By accelerating promising research, it is our hope that we can speed up the delivery of new effective antibacterials, vaccines, devices and rapid diagnostics to patients who need them,” said Kevin Outterson, Executive Director of CARB-X and Professor of Law at Boston University. “The projects in the new Powered by CARB-X portfolio are in the early stages of research, and there is always a high risk of failure. But if successful, these projects hold exciting potential in the fight against the deadliest antibiotic-resistant bacteria.”

The project was founded in July, 2016 and is formed of a partnership between the US Department of Health and Human Services, Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Funding for the project comes from BARDA and the Wellcome Trust, with further funding for future projects expected to be released later this year.

Ben Hargreaves

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