September 20, 2018 – 2017-18 was a year of remarkable progress for CARB-X against the rising threat of drug-resistant bacteria. In only its second year of operation, CARB-X almost doubled the size of its portfolio with innovative antibiotics, rapid diagnostics and other life-saving products, and expanded its global reach and partnership.
In CARB-X’s 2017-18 annual report, Kevin Outterson, Executive Director of CARB-X, says he is encouraged by the progress the CARB-X portfolio of research projects has made, but “there is no quick fix to solving the global drug-resistance crisis. It will take increased sustained funding to accelerate innovation and concerted global action on stewardship, access and many other fronts to win this battle. CARB-X will continue to work with partners around the world to accelerate the delivery of life-saving antibacterial products to those who need them.”
Highlights from the year include new partners – the UK Government’s Global Antimicrobial Resistance Innovation Fund (GAMRIF) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation – joining the CARB-X partnership in May 2018. They join BARDA, Wellcome Trust and NIAID as sources of funding and other support. CARB-X now has more than US$500 million to invest in antibacterial research from 2016 to 2021.
At year-end, July 31, 2018, there were 33 projects in 7 countries in the early development portfolio targeting the most serious drug-resistant bacteria, almost double the number of projects in CARB-X’s first year. Projects included 10 new classes of antibiotics, five rapid diagnostics projects and 11 non-traditional therapeutics projects including 3 microbiome projects. Since it was launched in July 2016, CARB-X has awarded more than $91 million to support the development of new products.
Looking ahead, CARB-X is expected to announce additional awards in 2019 to support innovative research and to expand its network of accelerators to provide technical, business and scientific support to CARB-X funded companies.
New antibiotics and other therapeutics, diagnostics and other products are urgently needed to treat bacteria that are increasingly resistant to existing antibiotics. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), an estimated 700,000 people die each year worldwide from bacterial infections that cannot be cured with existing antibiotics. At the same time, there are too few drugs in development to meet current and anticipated patient needs. A Pew Charitable Trusts study shows that of the 42 antibiotics in development June 30, 2018, only 11 have potential activity against the most serious superbugs: carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriacae, Acinetobacter baumannii, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, pathogens the WHO considers critical threats because they are resistant to all or nearly all of the antibiotics available today.
The scope of CARB-X funding is restricted to projects that target drug-resistant bacteria highlighted on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s Antibiotic Resistant Threats list, or the Priority Bacterial Pathogens list published by the WHO in 2017 – with a priority on those pathogens deemed Serious or Urgent on the CDC list or Critical or High on the WHO list.
CARB-X is a non-profit partnership launched by the US Department of Health and Human Services Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), part of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR), the Wellcome Trust, and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the US National Institutes of Health (NIH).
This announcement is supported by the Cooperative Agreement Number IDSEP160030 from ASPR/BARDA and by an award from Wellcome Trust. The contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of CARB-X funders.