The US government has announced a new global partnership to tackle the health threat posed by antimicrobial resistance, involving two UK partners.
CARB-X – Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria Biopharmaceutical Accelerator – is a new organisation that hopes to rejuvenate the pipeline of anti-microbial drugs and diagnostics. It will coordinate R&D funding of at least $350 million over the next five years, allowing the organisation to deploy significant resources to address the unique set of scientific and commercial challenges that antimicrobial resistance (AMR) creates.
The international partnership will support a suite of products through early preclinical development to a stage where they can be taken forward by private or public investment.
The Biomedical Advanced Research Authority (BARDA), within the US Department of Health and Human Services, is to provide $30 million in grants to CARB-X during the first year and up to $250 million over five years.
The AMR Centre, which is based at Alderley Park in Cheshire, is one of five organisations in the partnership. The Centre is expected to receive up to $14 million in matched funding from CARB-X in year one – and $100 million in total over the next five years. The combination of its own resources and the contributions from CARB-X means that in the AMR centre expects to be able to focus $200 million on a range of R&D projects. These financial resources will be used to help small and medium sized businesses progress their R&D projects into clinical trials.
"The creation of CARB-X is one of the most important steps yet in terms of rethinking how we deal with AMR and the partnership will have an impact around the world," said Dr Peter Jackson, steering group chairman of the AMR Centre. "We share the same goal of accelerating a new pipeline of treatments and diagnostics by working on new drug development programs. We will do this in our own labs as well as in collaboration with other organisations, in particular providing support to small and medium-sized businesses and research institutes which have exciting new approaches to AMR."
The UK's Wellcome Trust, a global charitable foundation focused on biomedical research, will also contribute funding, along with its expertise in overseeing projects of this kind.
"Our hope is that the combination of technical expertise and life science entrepreneurship experience within CARB-X's life science accelerators will remove barriers for companies pursuing the development the next novel drug, diagnostic, or vaccine to combat this public health threat," said Joe Larsen, acting BARDA deputy director.
CARB-X grew out of President Obama's 2015 Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria (CARB) initiative and will address several goals laid out in the US Federal CARB National Action Plan. The organisation will begin reviewing applications to determine the most promising products to fund in September.