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HHS Forges Unprecedented Partnership to Combat ‘Superbugs’ Resistance

Superbug definitionWashington, DC, July 29, 2016 ― To address one of the greatest modern threats to public health — antibiotic resistance — the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Wellcome Trust of London, the AMR Centre of Alderley Park (Cheshire, United Kingdom), and Boston University School of Law will create one of the world’s largest public-private partnerships focused on preclinical discovery and development of new antimicrobial products.

Made possible through a cooperative agreement, the partnership promotes innovation and could provide hundreds of millions of dollars over five years to increase the number of antibiotics in the drug-development pipeline.

The Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria Biopharmaceutical Accelerator, or CARB-X, represents a global innovation project for antibiotic products research and development.

CARB-X brings together multiple domestic and international partners and capabilities to find potential antibiotics and move them through preclinical testing to enable safety and efficacy testing in humans and greatly reducing the business risk, which can make advanced development more attractive to private sector investment.

The Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), within the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR), and the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) within the National Institutes of Health will join the Wellcome Trust and the AMR Centre in joint oversight of the project.

Two U.S. non-profit life science accelerators — Massachusetts Biotechnology Council in Cambridge, Massachusetts (MassBio), and the California Life Sciences Institute (CLSI) of South San Francisco, California, will provide support for early-stage antibiotic development projects.

ASPR’s BARDA will draw on its extensive experience of successfully advancing promising medical countermeasures through late-stage development and provide $30 million during the project’s first year and up to $250 million during the five-year project.

The AMR Centre, a public-private initiative formed in February 2016 to drive the development of new antibiotics and diagnostics, aims to provide $14 million to support CARB-X projects in year one and up to $100 million over five years.

The Wellcome Trust, a global charitable foundation focused on biomedical research, will contribute further funding and its expertise in overseeing projects of this kind.

NIAID, which leads the U.S. government in biomedical research on infectious and immune-mediated diseases and developing better means of preventing, diagnosing and treating these illnesses, will provide in-kind research support, including preclinical research expertise, to projects that CARB-X supports. NIAID will also provide technical support related to early-stage antibiotic drug discovery and product development.

“Increasingly, it is becoming clear that partnerships of global reach and efficiency are needed to address complex problems like antimicrobial resistance,” said Dr. Richard Hatchett, acting BARDA director.

“The establishment of CARB-X is a watershed moment; governments, academia, industry, and nongovernment organizations have come together to operate under a common strategic framework to tackle a monumental public health threat of our time,” Dr. Hatchett added.

“Antibiotic resistance is a major public health problem that will only get worse without the creation of new antibiotic drugs to combat bacterial infections,” said NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D. “NIAID is enthusiastic about being a part of this effort to accelerate the discovery and development of a new generation of life-saving antibiotics.”

For additional information about the HHS partnership, click here.