Since its launch less than two years ago, the public-private partnership CARB-X has provided $85 million to three dozen biotech companies working on new therapies and diagnostics to fight antibiotic resistance.
Now CARB-X, which stands for Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria Biopharmaceutical Accelerator, has two new funders: The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will give up to $25 million, and the U.K. government’s Global Antimicrobial Resistance Innovation Fund is giving up to $27 million (£20 million). With its total funding now over $500 million, CARB-X is quickly becoming a major backer for start-ups developing diagnostic, preventative, and therapeutic products for antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
Kevin Outterson, executive director of CARB-X, says the new funds will be used mostly for “vaccines, prevention, monoclonal antibodies, microbiome, and other nontraditional alternatives to antibiotics, with a particular focus on health needs in low- and middle-income countries.”
The Gates Foundation, well known for funding work to curb malaria, tuberculosis, and diarrheal diseases, is particularly interested in prevention.
Although small-molecule drug development isn’t mentioned as a priority for CARB-X’s newest funding, the organization already backs several small-molecule projects spanning nine new classes of antibiotics. Many of those target Gram-negative bacteria, whose anatomical features make them particularly tough to kill.
CARB-X currently funds 33 projects, which together could receive more than $100 million in additional funds for meeting project milestones.