The DZIF accelerates the fight against antibiotic-resistant bacteria

Seven partners support CARB X globally.


Fighting the global spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and developing new antibiotics is an important goal at the German Center for infection Research (DZIF). In order to further accelerate research in this field, it successfully applied for membership in the “CARB-X Accelerator Network”. CARB-X globally supports biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, which develop drugs against antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Dr Thomas Hesterkamp is convinced, “The DZIF membership in the CARB-X Accelerator Network gives us a major opportunity to support important projects in the field of antibiotic research.” He is responsible for product development at the DZIF and knows about the challenges around developing new antibiotics. “Most large companies have left research and development in this field. If we do not want to be left without effective antibiotics in ten years’ time, we need to establish new, strong consortia now,” he explains. “And, by bringing together companies and partners from science, and supporting their projects, CARB-X provides precisely such an opportunity.”

CARB-X: Funding Organisation with International Support

CARB-X (Combating Antibiotic Resistant Biopharmaceutical Accelerator) is a funding organisation for projects in the field of antibiotic research. It is financed by the US Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), the Wellcome Trust, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the US National Institute of Health (NIH-NIAID), amongst others. It specifically funds company projects, including start-ups, which develop new antibiotics or diagnostics from the early stages of development through to the first clinical trial phase. A focus is on funding innovative product candidates and new treatment modalities that bear high risks with regard to their development.

CARB-X is currently funding over around 30 projects globally. These projects work on developing both new antibiotics and vaccines, as well as developing more rapid and precise diagnostics. It focuses on combating priority multidrug-resistant bacteria, which the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the American Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have rated as being particularly critical. These include multidrug-resistant bacteria like Acinetobacter, Pseudomonas and different Enterobacteriaceae such as E. coli, which are particularly problematic in hospitals. In order to accelerate its funding activities and optimally support innovative projects worldwide, CARB-X has now included a total of ten organisations from six countries in its Accelerator Network—amongst them the German Center for Infection Research.

The DZIF as an Accelerator

The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research is funding the DZIF’s CARB-X membership by increasing the number of staff in the DZIF’s Product Development Unit. This gives the DZIF the opportunity to accompany project teams on their way to acquiring CARB-X funding and to provide support and advice for project implementation. These projects are subsequently specifically supported by the DZIF. “We are pleased that we can deliver our regulatory know-how for questions in pharmaceutical, preclinical and early clinical development,” explains Sibylle Matz, who, together with her team from the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM), supports research on antibiotics conducted at the DZIF.

Besides the BfArM, the Paul Ehrlich Institute will also be involved in supporting the CARB-X Network and make its expertise available. “This is an opportunity for the Paul Ehrlich Institute to deliver intensive scientific consultations, also in support of vaccine and biomedicine projects that focus on curbing antibiotic resistance,” says Klaus Cichutek, President of the Paul Ehrlich Institute.

According to Hesterkamp, “Getting small companies interested in partnerships and in conducting innovative projects in this field is an important task. CARB-X and the Accelerator Network provide financial support and an excellent structure with opportunities for innovative projects.” He summarises the goals, “If we, as the DZIF, can accompany a few really good projects within the CARB-X funding over the next few years, will have achieved a lot.”


Ten partners support CARB-X

BaselArea.Swiss, BioInnovation Institute, Centre for Cellular and Molecular Platforms, Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics, German Center for Infection Research (DZIF), Institute for Life Sciences Entrepreneurship, Wellcome Trust, California Life Sciences Institute, RTI International, Massachusetts Biotechnology Council.

The following bacteria are particularly critical:

WHO Priority Pathogen List (2017)

CDC’s List of Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria (2013)

Full story: CARB-X press release

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