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CARB – X Initiative

The United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is collaborating with international players for combating antibiotic resistance and for developing and discovering new antimicrobial products. HHS has formed a new group, called Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria Biopharmaceutical Accelerator or CARB-X, working with AMR Centre of Alderley Park, Wellcome Trust of London, and Boston University School of Law.

CARB-X is headquartered at the Boston University School of Law and will be headed by Kevin Outterson, a leading health law researcher at the university. The Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) of HHS, along with Wellcome Trust, AMR Centre, and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, will supervise the project.

The executive team of CARB-X will have experts in antibacterial drugs and in drug development. The program aims to bring together multiple international and domestic partners to develop potential antibiotics, and test them to ensure their safety and efficiency. This will also help to reduce business risks, and attract private sector players to invest in advanced development of antibiotic products.

BARDA will be providing $30 million in the first year, and up to $250 million during the five-year project, where the AMR Centre of Alderley Park will contribute $14 million to the project initially, and provide up to $100 million over the course of the project. The Wellcome Trust, on the other hand, will not only fill in the funding gaps, but will also provide guidance to product developers in medicinal chemistry, pharmaceutics formulation, biology, and clinical development, and monitor the overall progress of CARB-X.

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Developing Antimicrobial Products

According to Wellcome Director Jeremy Farrar, “Drug-resistant infections are already costing lives all over the world. A problem of this scale can only be tackled through coordinated international effort to curb our massive overuse of existing antibiotics, and to accelerate the development of new ones.”

BARDA Acting Director Richard Hatchett commented that, “it is becoming clear that partnerships of global reach and efficiency are needed to address complex problems like antimicrobial resistance. 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.”

The California Life Sciences Institute of South San Francisco, and the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council in Cambridge, will also support the early stages of the antibiotic development project.