CARB-X is funding Accelerate Diagnostics to develop a rapid optical imaging diagnostic for sepsis and serious antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections

CARB-X is funding Accelerate Diagnostics to develop a rapid optical imaging diagnostic for sepsis and serious antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections

Accelerate’s novel optical imaging technology aims to rapidly identify infectious microbes to help clinicians speed treatment of patients with sepsis or at risk for sepsis

(BOSTON: June 8, 2021) – CARB-X is awarding Accelerate Diagnostics, a Tucson, Arizona, USA, biotech company, up to US$578,000 to develop new fiber optic technology to diagnose sepsis or the risk of sepsis. Accelerate would be eligible for up to $2.1 million in additional funds from CARB-X if the project meets certain milestones, subject to available funds.

Sepsis is the body’s overwhelming and life-threatening response to an infection that can lead to tissue damage, organ failure and death.  Speed is critical in diagnosing infections and sepsis. Each hour delay in the appropriate treatment of sepsis increases the chances of death.

“Prompt diagnosis and treatment provide the best chance for reducing death rates and improving recovery from sepsis,” said Erin Duffy, R&D Chief of CARB-X, a non-profit global partnership led by Boston University and dedicated to supporting the development of innovative therapeutics, preventatives and diagnostics to address antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections. “Accelerate’s technology aims to speed up delivery of diagnostic test results which would help clinicians make treatment decisions in the first critical hours of illness.”

Sepsis is a leading cause of death in many countries. Globally, an estimated 11 million people die each year from sepsis. In the US, 1.7 million American adults develop sepsis each year and 270,000 die as a result, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  In addition to the loss of life, this represents an estimated health care cost in the US of $62 billion annually. Sepsis is often a complication of infections acquired in health-care settings, which are often caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria and particularly challenging to diagnose and treat. In low- and middle-income countries, sepsis also represents a major cause of maternal and neonatal morbidity and death.

Accelerate Diagnostics Chief Executive Officer Jack Phillips said, “We are excited to receive this CARB-X award in support of this project as we continue to innovate in the fight against sepsis and antimicrobial resistance. This award will support our continuing efforts to develop better methods for delivering fast answers and improving clinical outcomes for patients with serious infections.”

The CARB-X award provides support for the development of a compact instrument, and research into the possible application of fiber optic technology, called Stimulated Raman Spectroscopy (SRS), to identify bacteria.  Bacterial identification could potentially be within 15 minutes from a positive blood culture with minimal sample processing. The technology has demonstrated high sensitivity and specificity and is able to identify a wide range of pathogens which is currently not possible with panel tests. A rapid test is especially important for sepsis treatment where every hour of delay in appropriate treatment reduces the chance of survival.   Accelerate’s project is in the Feasibility phase of development.

Supporting global innovation to address antibiotic resistance

The CARB-X portfolio is the world’s largest and most diverse antibacterial R&D portfolio with 62 active projects focused exclusively on antibiotic-resistant bacteria. CARB-X is investing up to $480 million in non-dilutive funding between 2016-2022 to support the early development of new therapeutics including new classes of antibiotics, vaccines and other preventatives, and rapid diagnostics. The goal is to support projects through the early phases of development so that they will attract additional private or public support for further clinical development and regulatory approval for use in patients.

Since its launch in 2016, CARB-X has announced 92 awards worth more than $342.6 million, with the potential of additional funds if project milestones are met. These funds are in addition to investments made by the companies themselves.  To date, 8 programs have graduated from the CARB-X program, primed for advanced development.  Of these, 2 diagnostics programs have received a CE mark certification in Europe; 1 prevention program has progressed into human Phase 2 clinical trials and 2 programs have received advanced-development contracts with the US Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA).

An estimated 700,000 people die each year from antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections. CARB-X funds only projects that target drug-resistant bacteria highlighted on the CDC Antibiotic Resistant Threats list, or the Priority Bacterial Pathogens list published by the World Health Organization (WHO) with a priority on those pathogens deemed Serious or Urgent on the CDC list or Critical or High on the WHO list.

CARB-X funding for this research is supported by the Cooperative Agreement Number IDSEP160030 from ASPR/BARDA and by awards from the Wellcome Trust and Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). The contents of this news release are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the HHS Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response, or other CARB-X funders. 


Jennifer Robinson

Accelerate Diagnostics
Troy Hollar

About CARB-X
Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria Biopharmaceutical Accelerator (CARB-X) is a global non-profit partnership dedicated to accelerating early development antibacterial R&D to address the rising global threat of drug-resistant bacteria. CARB-X is led by Boston University and funding is provided by the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), part of the Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response (ASPR) in the US Department of Health and Human Services, the Wellcome Trust, a global charity based in the UK working to improve health globally, Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the UK Department of Health and Social Care’s Global Antimicrobial Resistance Innovation Fund (GAMRIF), the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and with in-kind support from National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the US National Institutes of Health (NIH).  CARB-X is investing up to $480 million from 2016-2022 to support innovative antibiotics and other therapeutics, vaccines, and rapid diagnostics. CARB-X supports the world’s largest and most innovative pipeline of preclinical products against drug-resistant infections. CARB-X is headquartered at Boston University School of Law.  Follow us on Twitter @CARB_X.

About Accelerate Diagnostics, Inc.
Accelerate Diagnostics, Inc. is an in vitro diagnostics company dedicated to providing solutions for the global challenges of antibiotic resistance and sepsis. The Accelerate Pheno® system and Accelerate PhenoTest® BC kit combine several technologies aimed at reducing the time clinicians must wait to determine the most optimal antibiotic therapy for deadly infections. The FDA-cleared Accelerate Pheno® system and kit fully automate the sample preparation steps to report phenotypic antibiotic susceptibility results in approximately 7 hours direct from positive blood cultures. Recent external studies indicate the solution offers results 1–2 days faster than existing methods, enabling clinicians to optimize antibiotic selection and dosage specific to the individual patient days earlier. 

The US Department of Health and Human Services works to enhance and protect the health and well-being of all Americans, providing for effective health and human services and fostering advances in medicine, public health, and social services. Within HHS, ASPR’s mission is to save lives and protect Americans from 21st century health security threats. ASPR leads the nation’s medical and public health preparedness for, response to, and recovery from disasters and public health emergencies. BARDA provides a comprehensive, integrated, portfolio approach to the advanced research and development, innovation, acquisition, and manufacturing of medical countermeasures – vaccines, drugs, therapeutics, diagnostic tools, and non-pharmaceutical products for public health emergency threats. These threats include chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear agents, pandemic influenza, and emerging infectious diseases. NIH is the primary US federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. NIAID conducts and supports research — at NIH, throughout the United States, and worldwide — to study the causes of infectious and immune-mediated diseases, and to develop better means of preventing, diagnosing and treating these illnesses.

About Wellcome Trust
Wellcome exists to improve health for everyone by helping great ideas to thrive. We’re a global charitable foundation, both politically and financially independent. We support scientists and researchers, take on big problems, fuel imaginations and spark debate. The Wellcome Trust is a charity registered in England and Wales, no. 210183. Its sole trustee is The Wellcome Trust Limited, a company registered in England and Wales, no. 2711000 (whose registered office is at 215 Euston Road, London NW1 2BE, UK).

About BMBF
Education and research are the foundations for our future. The promotion of education, science and research by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) represents an important contribution to securing Germany’s prosperity. Education and research are a Federal Government policy priority, which is reflected in the development of the funding it is making available to these fields. 

About Boston University 
Founded in 1839, Boston University is an internationally recognized institution of higher education and research. With more than 33,000 students, it is the fourth-largest independent university in the United States. BU consists of 17 schools and colleges, along with a number of multi-disciplinary centers and institutes integral to the University’s research and teaching mission. In 2012, BU joined the Association of American Universities (AAU), a consortium of 62 leading research universities in the United States and Canada. For further information, please contact Jeremy Thompson at