World's Largest Partnership Formed to Fight Antimicrobial Resistance


The world’s largest public-private partnership has been formed in a collective effort to battle antimicrobial resistance through a global project, CARB-X, which will be comprised of expert product developers who will research and develop new antimicrobial products.

In response to antibiotic-resistant bacteria cases that have continued to pose a threat to public health and quality of life, the world’s largest public-private partnership has been formed, according to a press release issued by the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

HHS, the Wellcome Trust of London, the AMR Centre of Alderley Park, and Boston University School of Law have all come together in a mutual effort to address the issue, their central focus being the development of antimicrobial products that can eventually receive approval by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). They hope to achieve this through the launch of a new global project, the Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria Biopharmaceutical Accelerator, or CARB-X, headquartered at Boston University School of Law in Boston, Massachusetts.

CARB-X’s central focus is on the research and development of antimicrobial products. The project's goal is to set up a portfolio that would contain at least 20 high-quality antibacterial products and “accelerate” them through preclinical testing toward clinical development, according to CARB-X’s official website. CARB-X will review applications starting in September 2016 to decide which antibacterial products will be approved for further research and development.

Richard Hatchett, MD, PHE, director of the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response’s (ASPR) Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) stressed the importance of the cumulative effort that is needed to reach such a goal. He said, “Increasingly, 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.”

BARDA will contribute its expertise as well as a total of $250 million during the five-year project, $30 million in the project’s first year alone, according to HHS. In joint oversight over the project with BARDA, the AMR Centre will also provide funding in the sum of $100 million during the five-year project, $14 million in the project’s first year alone. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID) will also oversee the project and contribute its research expertise as well as provide technical support to CARB-X.

Kevin Outterson, prominent health law researcher and global project collaborator, will lead the CARB-X executive team consisting of experienced experts in drug development. The four CARB-X accelerators are, according to HHS: the Wellcome Trust, which will provide guidance, monitor progress, and provide feedback to product developers; the AMR Centre, which will provide product developers with capacity, funding, and capability; MassBio, which will offer access to mentoring and capital to selectees; and CLSI, which plans to partner up with MassBio to provide chosen selectees with mentoring services and business support. Another partner, RTI International, will supply product developers with support services to assist in research and computing. The Broad Institute of MIT will contribute to CARB-X through the creation of an “antibiotics chemistry hub” that will be accessible to product developers.

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