UK Government and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation join CARB-X partnership in fight against superbugs

UK Government and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation join CARB-X partnership in fight against superbugs

Millions earmarked to boost research into new life-saving products to address the global rise of drug-resistant bacteria

(GENEVA, Switzerland: May 22, 2018) – Research to develop life-saving products, including new vaccines and other products to protect against deadly drug-resistant bacterial infections, got a significant boost today.

The UK Government’s Global Antimicrobial Resistance Innovation Fund (GAMRIF) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) have joined the CARB-X partnership to support scientific research around the world to develop new vaccines, preventatives, and other products against drug-resistant bacterial infections, particularly among vulnerable populations in low- and middle-income countries.

The UK Government is committing up to £20 million, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation up to US$25 million, to CARB-X over the next three years. Combined with existing funding commitments from Wellcome Trust and the US Government (BARDA and NIAID), CARB-X now has more than $500 million to invest in antibacterial development. CARB-X is the world’s leading non-profit partnership focused on accelerating the early development of antibiotics, vaccines, diagnostics and other products needed to save lives and to address the rising threat of superbugs. There are currently 33 projects in the CARB-X portfolio from 7 countries.

Drug-resistant infections currently cause around 700,000 deaths worldwide each year, including an estimated 23,000 deaths in the United States and an estimated 5,000 in the UK. If antibiotic resistance continues at its current rate, these numbers are expected to rise significantly within a generation.

Prof. Dame Sally Davies, England’s Chief Medical Officer said, “Drug-resistant infections claim the lives of hundreds of thousands of people from around the world every year. If we do not act now, the situation will get much worse. We must work together to tackle this problem and that is why I’m delighted the UK Government and the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation are joining the CARB-X partnership. Through CARB-X, the UK Government’s Global AMR Innovation Fund will be supporting research into the development of new vaccines and other life-saving products to tackle drug-resistant infections in developing countries where the burden is greatest.” The UK support to CARB-X follows concerns expressed by the 2016 independent Review on AMR, chaired by Lord Jim O’Neill, which underlined the importance of a coordinated global effort to tackle the threat AMR poses to health and economic prosperity.

“The threat of antimicrobial resistance underscores the importance of prevention – which we believe is key to saving lives,” said Dr. Sue Desmond-Hellmann, CEO of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “The Gates Foundation funding will advance the development of vaccines and novel biologics, including monoclonal antibodies, to avert drug-resistant diseases and protect the lives of children and infants, especially in low- and middle-income countries.”

Kevin Outterson, Executive Director of CARB-X, said “We are in a race against superbugs and it will take leadership, vision and sustained effort to keep ahead. The world urgently needs new approaches to address the rising threat of drug-resistant infections. We are deeply grateful for this new partnership with the UK Government and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, building upon the leadership from the US Government (BARDA and NIAID) and the Wellcome Trust. As of today, four members of the Global AMR R&D Hub have joined CARB-X. We invite other countries and funders to join them to help drive innovation and to deliver the life-saving medicines and products so urgently needed.”

“We’re honored to have these two power-house organizations join us in this fight to accelerate global antibacterial innovation,” BARDA Director Rick Bright, Ph.D., said. “Each CARB-X partner brings unique motivation, resources, and perspective. Although our missions are diverse, our goal is the same: combat antimicrobial resistant infections to save lives. I’m confident that, together, we will make a difference for both global health and national health security.”

Tim Jinks, head of Wellcome’s Drug-Resistant Infections Priority Programme said: “New drugs, diagnostics and preventative measures, such as vaccines, are essential to address the rise and spread of superbugs. Through CARB-X funding and support we are advancing exciting developments in early research projects around the world to find new ways to treat and protect people from drug-resistant infections. The funding announced today from UK Government and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is a significant boost which we are very pleased to welcome to this partnership. We hope other countries and partners will follow – without wider investment and collaboration we will struggle to deliver the new treatments needed globally to protect and save lives and stop superbugs undermining modern medicine.”

The expanded CARB-X partnership was announced at the launch of the Global Antimicrobial Resistance R&D Hub during the 71st World Health Assembly (WHA) meeting this week in Geneva. The WHA is the decision-making body of the World Health Organization (WHO). The Global AMR R&D Hub, which was called for by the G20 leaders in 2017, will work to advance international funding, co-ordination and collaboration for research and development of antimicrobial medicines.

The UK Government and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation join CARB-X’s existing funding partners:

CARB-X selects the most promising and innovative research from around the world through a competitive review process involving world-leading experts. The goal is to support research projects from the early phases of development through Phase 1 clinical testing, so that they will attract additional private or public funding for further clinical development and approval for use in patients. The scope of CARB-X funding is restricted to projects that target drug-resistant bacteria highlighted on the ‘Antibiotic Resistant Threats in the United States’ report published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2013 or the Priority Bacterial Pathogens list published by the World Health Organization (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 next round of funding opens for applications on June 1, 2018. The scope of funding will include vaccines and other projects that met the criteria of UK and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation funding.

The UK Government’s Global AMR Innovation Fund is a £50m UK Aid investment providing seed funding for innovative research and development in the field of AMR to reduce the health, social and economic threats it poses to people living in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Other investments include InnoVet AMR, a partnership with the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) of Canada. InnoVet AMR will fund research to develop new animal vaccines and other innovations to fight AMR in livestock and aquaculture production, particularly in LMICs. Additionally, the GAMRIF portfolio includes a partnership with the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST). This will provide up to £10m of funding for ground-breaking bilateral research and development (R&D), match funded by the Chinese Government to address the growing threat of drug-resistant infections.

Media Contacts:


T: +44 (0) 207 210 5199
M: +44 (0) 7787836432

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation:

V: +1.206.726.7179
M: +1 203.641.0003

Jennifer Robinson

M: +1.514.914.8974

Global AMR R&D Hub:
Dr. Marit Ackermann
Federal Ministry of Education & Research (Germany)
O: +49 (0) 30 18 57-5368

About the Global AMR Innovation Fund (GAMRIF)

The Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) is the UK Government department which is responsible for helping people to live more independent, healthier lives for longer.

The partnership with CARB-X is part of DHSC’s Global Antimicrobial Resistance Innovation Fund (GAMRIF). GAMRIF was established to provide seed funding for innovative research and development, specifically in neglected and underinvested areas, in the field of AMR. GAMRIF is a £50m UK 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 the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people’s health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the United States, it seeks to ensure that all people—especially those with the fewest resources—have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life. Based in Seattle, Washington, the foundation is led by CEO Sue Desmond-Hellmann and Co-chair William H. Gates Sr., under the direction of Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett.

About CARB-X (Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria Biopharmaceutical Accelerator)

CARB-X is the world’s largest public-private partnership accelerating early development antibacterial R&D. CARB-X is investing more than $500 million from 2016-2021 to support innovative antibiotics and other therapeutics, vaccines, rapid diagnostics and devices to treat drug-resistant bacterial infections. In its first two years, CARB-X has built the world’s largest and most innovative pipeline of preclinical products against drug-resistant infections. CARB-X focuses exclusively on high priority drug-resistant bacteria, especially Gram-negatives. CARB-X is funded by US Department of Health and Human Services Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), part of the Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response (ASPR), the Wellcome Trust, a global charity based in the UK working to improve health globally, the UK Global Antimicrobial Resistance Innovation Fund (UK GAMRIF), the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), 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 based at Boston University in the Faculty of Law. Other partners include RTI International, the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, MassBio, and the California Life Sciences Institute (CLSI).


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 the Global AMR R&D Hub

The Global AMR R&D Hub will support evidence-based political decision-making on allocation of resources for research and development on antimicrobial resistance (AMR), where a number of national and global actors are striving for solutions to a problem in a complex space. As a key actor in global R&D for AMR, the Global AMR R&D Hub aims to address the challenges of AMR in a comprehensive One Health approach by bringing together governments and foundations from different world regions as key R&D funding sources, addressing global R&D priorities, promoting high-level strategic coordination and alignment of the existing public and private funding and activities, and leveraging further monetary and other investments for AMR R&D initiatives. The Global AMR R&D Hub will work to keep the attention on AMR high on the political agenda and advocate for a continuous dialogue on R&D for AMR.