Base award of up to $2.5 million, plus up to $14.7 million more if the Avails device is successful through development
(BOSTON: February 1, 2021) – CARB-X is funding Avails Medical, a Menlo Park, CA, USA, diagnostics company, to develop an electronic antibiotic susceptibility testing (AST) device to speed up health care providers’ ability to determine the most effective antibiotic treatment for serious and life-threatening blood infections. The new device will use electronic biosensors that fit onto commercially available AST panels. From a positive blood culture sample, it aims to identify the most effective antibiotics to treat the infection within four hours rather than days.
The CARB-X award is worth up to $2.5 million, plus up to $14.7 million more if the Avails project progresses successfully in later phases, subject to available funds. The project is currently in the Feasibility development phase. CARB-X funding is non-dilutive and structured to cover 80 – 90 percent of development costs.
“Speed is a critical component of effectively diagnosing and treating serious antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections, including bloodstream infections. Every hour of delay in effective treatment increases the risk of complications and septic shock,” said Erin Duffy, Chief of Research and Development of CARB-X, a global non-profit partnership based at Boston University School of Law that funds and supports the development of new antibiotics, vaccines, diagnostics and other products to address antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
“Currently, it can take days to identify which antibiotics are most effective to treat a lethal bacterial infection in the bloodstream. The Avails eAST technology aims to provide phenotypic results within four hours from a positive blood culture sample, which is critical to guide antibiotic therapy decisions especially in multi-drug resistance infections,” said Oren Knopfmacher, CEO of Avails Medical. “We are honored by the recognition of our unique approach to drastically decrease the turnaround time to targeted antibiotic therapy initiation. We are thrilled to join the CARB-X family. Fighting antibiotic resistance is our common goal and mission.”
The Avails eAST has 96 integrated electronic sensors in a disposable lid that would fit onto widely available AST plates. When immersed into a positive blood culture sample, it rapidly detects bacterial growth to determine the best antibiotic treatment. The technology, with its small benchtop footprint and high throughput, is easy-to-use and could be ideal for smaller community-based hospitals and clinics to speed up delivery of information critical for treatment decisions.
Supporting global antibacterial innovation to address drug resistance
The CARB-X portfolio is the world’s largest and most diverse antibacterial R&D portfolio with 51 active projects focused exclusively on drug-resistant bacteria. CARB-X is investing up to $480 million in non-dilutive funding between 2016-2022 to support the early development of new antibiotics, vaccines, rapid diagnostics and other life-saving products. 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 77 awards worth more than $278.5 million, with the potential of additional funds if project milestones are met. These funds are in addition to investments made by the companies themselves. The CARB-X pipeline will continuously evolve, as projects progress and others fail for a variety of reasons.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 700,000 people die each year from drug-resistant infections, including 35,000 in the US and 33,000 in Europe. CARB-X funds only projects that target drug-resistant bacteria highlighted on the Priority Bacterial Pathogens list published by the WHO, or on the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention CDC’s Antibiotic Resistant Threats list, with a priority on those pathogens deemed Serious or Urgent on the CDC list or Critical or High on the WHO list.
CARB-X’s funding for this project is sponsored by Cooperative Agreement Number IDSEP160030 from ASPR/BARDA and by awards from Wellcome Trust and Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of CARB-X or any of its funders.
Oren Knopfmacher, PhD
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. carb-x.org/. Follow us on Twitter @CARB_X.
About Avails Medical Inc.
Avails Medical, Inc., a privately held company, was founded in 2013 to help fight one of today’s biggest global health threats – antibiotic resistance. Founded by a team of Stanford University alums, the Avails all-electronic sensor technology platform is designed to significantly reduce the amount of time required to obtain the reliable antibiotic susceptibility data required to enable accurate therapy decisions. Avails’ electronic biosensor technology is designed to improve speed and accuracy in pathogen quantification and susceptibility testing directly from human specimens by eliminating crude, time-consuming culturing steps. www.availsmedical.com Follow on Twitter: @AvailsM
About BARDA and NIAID
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).
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. www.bu.edu.