- The Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria Biopharmaceutical Accelerator (CARB-X) program is betting $48 million on 11 early-stage projects, The Pew Charitable Trusts reports.
- Included in the product pipeline are antibiotics, as well as nontraditional anti-infection approaches such as disarming harmful pathogens or boosting immune response.
- The $48 million investment marks the launch of a five-year, milestone-based CARB-X initiative to spur research and development in new antibacterial products.
The spread of antibiotic-resistant organisms is a growing problem that has led to “superbug” outbreaks in a number of hospitals in recent years. Antibiotic-resistant bacteria cause an estimated 2 million infections and 23,000 deaths annually, according to the CDC.
Last fall, the federal government launched a $20 contest to spur development of rapid, point-of-care diagnostic tests to detect and distinguish antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
Hospitals are also stepping up infection prevention and control efforts, using cutting-edge technologies like UV-C LED light and real-time location systems to reduce the spread of super bugs and other hospital-acquired infections. Those efforts come as CDC research shows hospitals’ use of broad-spectrum antibiotics rose sharply between 2006 and 2012. Inappropriate and over use of antibiotics is a major cause of drug-resistant bacteria.
In February, the World Health Organization issued its first-ever list of super pathogens that are in urgent need of new antibiotics. The list includes 12 families of bacteria ranked as critical, high or medium priority for antibacterial research. WHO hopes the list will encourage countries to adopt policies that incentivize antibiotic R&D.