Funding Injection For New Antibiotics: The CARB-X Transatlantic Partnership 30/03/2017 by Kim Treanor for Intellectual Property Watch 1 Comment Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)A partnership of government agencies and organisations in the United States and United Kingdom have announced an investment of up to US$48 million into the development of new antibiotics and products to fight antibiotic resistant bacteria, with the aim of having two new antibiotics in human trials in the next five years. CARB-X, the Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria Biopharmaceutical Accelerator, is a partnership between public and private organisations in the US and UK. Antibiotic resistant bacteria US$24 million was awarded today, and if the projects remain on target, an additional US$24 million could be awarded to them. This is the first phase of funding, and CARB-X announced that further proposals will be reviewed in April. Additional cycles of funding will continue over the coming years, the group said. The announcement was made today at the launch of the CARB-X initiative. Antimicrobial resistance is a growing threat to public health, contributing to an estimated 700,000 deaths worldwide, according to a 2014 report commissioned by the UK prime minister. According to the report, that number is expected to rise sharply by 2050, to 10 million deaths worldwide annually. While the cause is urgent, the development of new antibiotic drugs has been declining. CARB-X Executive Director Kevin Outterson said at the conference today that this is partly because when a new antibiotic is created, doctors try not to use it for as long as possible, and save it for when it’s absolutely necessary. “We call this antibiotic stewardship, or appropriate use, or sustainable use, and it’s a good thing,” he said. “But it destroys the market for a new innovative antibiotic.” CARB-X was launched by the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). BARDA will provide up to US$250 million over the next five years. The Wellcome Trust in London will additionally provide US$155.5 million. Other organisations will work with those who receive funding on pre-clinical, business and research support services, should they request it. These include: the California Life Sciences Institute; MassBio in Cambridge, Massachusetts; the Broad Institute of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University; AMR Centre, London, and RTI International, Durham, North Carolina. CARB-X has selected 11 biotechnology companies and research teams from the US and UK for its initial round of funding, and aims to support these projects through the pre-clinical research phase and into early clinical trials. Each project targets bacteria which has been identified by the Centers for Disease Control in the United States or by the World Health Organization as presenting a serious threat. Additionally, the projects funded target gram-negative bacteria. These bacteria have specific features which make them even more likely to be resistant to antibiotics. Outterson said that no new class of antibiotics has been developed to treat gram-negative bacteria since 1962, underscoring the urgency of new development. Among the projects selected for funding is antibiotic immunotherapy, which uses the patients’ own cells to target pathogens. Another project seeks to develop inhibitors to a property which is specific to gram-negative bacteria, preventing it from growing. Other projects target the cell membrane of gram-negative bacteria, in hopes that this would make it more susceptible to treatment with antibiotics. Projects will be mainly funded and supported through their pre-clinical phases. While many projects in this phase fail, the partnership hopes to provide the small and medium-sized enterprises which applied with as much support, through both funding and research and business support from their partners, that they will accelerate the pre-clinical phase and have potential drug candidates ready to move to later stage clinical trials. At that time, private investors could step in to provide funding for this advance stage development. At the CARB-X launch, Outterson highlighted the global threat that antibiotic resistance poses, saying, “There are millions of people around the world that don’t have adequate access to safe and quality assured antibiotics, and suffer health as a result. There’s also the concern about antibiotics being overused.” So, he said, “We have to think about providing access to these drugs, not excess. We’ve worked into the plan for each of these companies, they’ve contractually agreed to create a policy about their access and stewardship.” Outterson added that these policies would be transparent and available through the CARB-X website. Kim Treanor is an intern at Intellectual Property Watch and a student in the graduate program of International Affairs at the New School in New York, where she studies development, trade and public health. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Related Kim Treanor may be reached at email@example.com."Funding Injection For New Antibiotics: The CARB-X Transatlantic Partnership" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.