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CARB-X expands international reach with appointment of Damiano de Felice as Director of Development and External Engagement

CARB-X expands international reach with appointment of Damiano de Felice as Director of Development and External Engagement

Damiano de Felice to foster strategic partnerships with funders, investors and other stakeholders addressing antimicrobial resistance on a global level

(BOSTON: June 16, 2022) – CARB-X, a global partnership led by Boston University, today announced the appointment of Damiano de Felice, PhD, as Director of Development and External Engagement to the senior executive team. Dr. de Felice will manage CARB-X’s relationships with funders, investors in product developers and other organizations working to address antimicrobial resistance (AMR). He will also be responsible for the development of CARB-X’s financial sustainability strategy.

“AMR is a serious global health threat that requires a commitment from many governments and leaders around the world,” said Dr. de Felice. “Our success will depend on strong partnerships with funders, accelerators and innovators who are developing groundbreaking treatments, preventatives, and diagnostics that make it through the development pipeline. Without these products to address life-threatening bacterial infections, over a million people will continue to die every year. I look forward to helping CARB-X strengthen our collaborations, and develop new partnerships, so we can unite and address these challenges together.”

Strengthening global partnerships
In this new position, Dr. de Felice will lead the strategic financial sustainability plan to secure the global investments needed to advance CARB-X’s mission. He will build on the recent confirmation of renewed support from the U.S. Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), Wellcome, a global charitable foundation, and the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). Other CARB-X funders and partners include the U.K. and German governments (the Global AMR Innovation Fund and the Federal Ministry of Education and Research), and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Their original agreements are not yet up for renewal.

“We are very pleased to welcome Damiano to CARB-X as we continue to strengthen our relationships with key stakeholders,” said Kevin Outterson, Executive Director of CARB-X and Professor of Law at Boston University. “Damiano’s experience with AMR leaders around the world, combined with his expertise in supporting access to medicines and sustainable investing, will help CARB-X fulfill its mission of accelerating life-saving antibacterial products, and ensuring that they are accessible to everyone who needs them across the globe.”

Dr. de Felice is a non-profit executive based in Italy with more than 10 years of experience leading teams in business development, fundraising, partnerships, strategy and operations. He joins CARB-X from the Access to Medicine Foundation, where he was the Director of Strategy and a member of the management team. The Access to Medicine Foundation is a non-profit organization which stimulates the pharmaceutical industry to expand the availability and affordability of crucial healthcare products for people living in low- and middle-income countries. At the Foundation, he trebled annual funding for the organization and coordinated one of the world’s largest impact investing initiatives.

With expertise in medical accessibility and sustainable investing, he has advised a range of organizations and governments, including the World Economic Forum Global Future Council on Human Rights, SASB Advisory Group for the pharmaceutical sector, the Global AMR R&D Hub Stakeholder Group, the Expert Committee for the UN Sustainable Procurement Index for Health, the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights and the Italian Ministry of Economic Development. Dr. de Felice holds a PhD in international relations from the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Accelerating innovation to address the growing global antimicrobial resistance crisis
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a rapidly growing and deadly threat to the health of humanity and our global economy. In January, the Global Research on AntiMicrobial resistance (GRAM) Project released a landmark study in The Lancet  estimating 1.27 million deaths occurred in 2019 due to antibiotic-resistant infections. AMR spreads beyond international borders, and people who live in low- and middle-income countries are disproportionately affected. The highest burden is in sub-Saharan Africa, where it is estimated that 255,000 people died in 2019 due to AMR–more than half were children under the age of five.

Against this worrisome background, there have been no novel classes of antibiotics approved in the last 20 years. On average it takes 10-15 years and more than $1B to develop a new antibiotic and make it available to patients. Since new antibiotics should be used only when necessary to help reduce the spread of bacterial resistance, developers often struggle to recover R&D costs or see a return on investment. Many companies have withdrawn from the field, which has led to diminished investment in innovation and weak pipelines.

Since its inception, CARB-X has supported the advancement of 92 innovative projects in 12 countries. Today, the program is made up of a scientifically diverse portfolio of products that aim to diagnose, prevent and treat infections caused by the most dangerous resistant bacteria identified by the WHO and CDC. All active treatment programs feature a novel class of antibiotics, binding a novel bacterial target, or acting on a new pathway to help prevent cross-resistance with current antibacterial mechanisms. The CARB-X portfolio has met several milestones. Eleven candidates for treatment or prevention have progressed into first-in-human clinical trials, and more are expected to begin trials later this year. Four diagnostics have progressed into the validation and verification stage, which prepares them for clinical trials. Two CARB-X product developers are now supported by BARDA for advanced R&D to bring their candidates closer to approval.

CARB-X has been funded in whole or in part with Federal funds from the Department of Health and Human Services; Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response; Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority; Antibacterials Branch, under Agreement number: 75A50122C00028. 

The contents of this news release are solely the responsibility of the author and do not necessarily represent the official views of all CARB-X funders.

CARB-X Contact: Robin Berghaus, carbxpr@bu.edu

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 Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Wellcome, a global charity working to improve health worldwide, Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the U.K. 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 U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH). CARB-X supports the world’s largest and most innovative pipeline of preclinical and early-stage development products against antibiotic-resistant infections. CARB-X is headquartered at Boston University School of Law. For more information, view a fact sheet on CARB-X’s first five years and the 2020-2021 annual report. Visit carb-x.org and follow CARB-X on Twitter @CARB_X.

About BARDA and NIAID
The U.S. 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 against 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 U.S. 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 
Wellcome supports science to solve the urgent health challenges facing everyone. We support discovery research into life, health and wellbeing, and we’re taking on three worldwide health challenges: mental health, infectious disease and climate and health.

About the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)
Education and research are the foundations for our future. The promotion of education, science and research by the 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 the Global AMR Innovation Fund (GAMRIF)
The Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) is the U.K. Government department which is responsible for helping people to live more independent, healthier lives for longer. GAMRIF was established to provide seed funding for innovative research and development, specifically in neglected and underinvested areas, in the field of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). GAMRIF is a c.£50m U.K. aid investment, which means all projects funded must support research primarily and directly for the benefit of people in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). The Fund takes a ‘One Health’ approach, seeking to invest in potential solutions to reduce the threat of AMR in humans, animals, fish and the environment. The Fund seeks to leverage additional global funding through interaction with international government bodies, public-private partnerships, product development partnerships, global funding mechanisms and global fora.

About Boston University 
Founded in 1839, Boston University is an internationally recognized institution of higher education and research. With nearly 37,000 students, it is the third-largest independent university in the United States. BU consists of 17 schools and colleges and the interdisciplinary Faculty of Computing & Data Sciences, 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 65 leading research universities in the United States and Canada. For further information, please contact Jeremy Thompson at jeremy22@bu.edu. www.bu.edu