U.S., U.K. entities form partnership to combat superbugs

An international partnership hopes to speed ahead of the superbug problem as the U.S. and the United Kingdom combine resources to search for new antimicrobial solutions to drug resistance. HHS, the Welcome Trust of London, the AMR Centre of Alderley Park (located in the United Kingdom), and the Boston University School of Law have entered into a cooperative agreement to promote innovation.


The global innovation project, known as the Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria Biopharmaceutical Accelerator (CARB-X), represents a public-private partnership that hopes to develop antibiotics and quickly move them through the preclinical testing phase. Once antibiotics reach the human trial phase, private investors may be more motivated to back the projects. The teams hope to have a minimum of two drugs in the clinical phase in five years. CARB-X’s headquarters will be located at the Boston University School of Law and led by an executive team.


The project will be overseen by the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), the Welcome Trust and the AMR Centre. The Massachusetts Biotechnology Council and the California Life Sciences Institute will support early-stage projects. RTI International, located in North Carolina, and the Broad Institute of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University will also partner with CARB-X. BARDA will provide $30 million in funding for the first year, and the AMR Centre hopes to provide $14 million. Additional funding from both sources may be provided over five years.

Companies interested in receiving sub-awards for promising projects may submit applications, which will be reviewed beginning in September 2016.