US Government Drive CARB-X Announces Funding for Global Scientists Racing to Discover New Antibiotics to Treat Superbugs – Bugworks, Only Company From Asia in This List of Winners

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BANGALORE, July 25,2017

Bugworks Research India Private Limited, first company from Asia to receive funding

Scientists developing promising new antibiotics in India, Ireland, France, Switzerland, the US and UK are to share up to US $17.6 Million to speed treatments for the world’s deadliest superbugs.
Bugworks Research India Pvt Ltd, who is developing a new class of antibiotics to inhibit bacterial DNA topoisomerases, will receive an initial investment of up to $2.6 Million with potential option payments up to $3.6 Million.

A year since launching, the international partnership CARB-X today announces its second round of antibiotic research and development funding – alongside a call for greater global support.

The seven projects supported include:

  1. Five potential new class antibiotics for Gram-negative bacteria
  2. Potential new treatment for drug-resistant gonorrhoea
  3. New molecule targeting a superbug causing serious infections in cystic fibrosis patients
  4. Phase 1 clinical trial of a new oral broad-spectrum antibiotic

Drug-resistant infections currently cause around 700,000 deaths worldwide annually – if antibiotic resistance continues at its current rate that could rise significantly within a generation.

Kevin Outterson, Executive Director of CARB-X and Professor of Law at Boston University said, “Drug-resistant infections are complex and developing new antibiotics challenging, timely and costly. But restoring the R&D pipeline is vital to address the seriously increasing threat of superbugs which have become resistant to existing drugs. This is a global problem and CARB-X is a critical part of the global solution. We are looking to support the best potential new treatments and diagnostics across the world. We are especially pleased that today’s awards mean we are now supporting scientists in six countries. The projects offer exciting potential. But we need greater global support from governments, industry and civil society to get the new treatments the world urgently needs.”

CARB-X, which stands for Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria Biopharmaceutical Accelerator, is a partnership between UK charity Wellcome Trust and the US Department of Health and Human Services Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), part of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health.

CARB-X was launched in July 2016 to address the gap in antibiotic research and development and innovations to improve diagnosis and treatment of drug-resistant infections. The G20 has called for global antibiotic R&D efforts like CARB-X to refill the pipeline with safe and effective drugs.

Antibiotic discovery is challenging due to the complexity of bacteria which are easily able to genetically modify and become resistant to medicines, but also because of declining investment by larger companies.

The most recently approved new class of antibiotics was discovered in the early 1980s. However, CARB-X funding is focused on the most resistant, Gram-negative, bacteria, and the last new class of antibiotics approved for treatment against these was discovered in 1962.

Responsible use of existing antibiotics and equitable access, particularly in low-income countries where need is greatest, is also vital to address the global health problem. Both are a condition of CARB-X funding.

Tim Jinks, Head of Drug-Resistant Infections at Wellcome said, “Antibiotics are fundamental to modern medicine but overuse and inappropriate use have led to dangerous bacteria developing deadly resistance. Wellcome is committed to helping ensure we get the urgently needed new treatments. Drug discovery must also go hand-in-hand with concerted action to ensure antibiotics of last resort are reserved for patients where first-line treatments will not work. And we must ensure these treatments can be made available in all countries for those who need them.”

Today’s funding announcement is for one company in France, one in India, one in Switzerland, two in the US, one in the UK and one in Ireland.

Many of the CARB-X projects are at an early stage and it will still take some time before it is known whether they can become safe, effective treatments for patients. CARB-X is also supporting a Phase 1 clinical trial of a new oral and intravenous broad-spectrum antibiotic. Ensuring appropriate use of this type of antibiotic is critical, and if used appropriately, it can save lives.

BARDA’s Director Rick Bright, Ph.D., said, “The support announced today will help speed development of new antibacterial products to treat patients with serious, life-threatening infections to enhance domestic health security and global preparedness. We are committed to revitalizing the antibacterial pipeline through a combination of incentives; today’s announcement is another example of our commitment to promote and accelerate medical countermeasure innovation through novel public-private partnerships like CARB-X.”

“These awards build upon the scientific opportunities created by prior NIAID investments in drug development programs to assist with antibiotic development, and are consistent with our strategies for new approaches to address antibiotic resistance,” said NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D.

This latest funding is part of an overall commitment of up to US $455 Million by the US government and Wellcome over a five year period and follows the announcement in March 2017of the first 11 projects to receive funding – eight in the US and three in the UK.

The projects were selected from among 368 applications from around the world. CARB-X expects to make further funding announcements later this year. Product developers can visit CARB-X.org for additional information on funding opportunities.

About Bugworks Research India Private Limited:

In partnership with CARB-X, Bugworks is developing a novel first in class broad-spectrum antibiotic to kill multi-drug resistant Gram-negative bacteria that have been identified by the World Health Organization as critical and high priority infection threats. Our lead compound, a Gyrase-topoisomerase inhibitor, is being developed as an intravenous and oral treatment for multi-drug resistant infections, with a low risk of developing resistance because it inhibits two essential targets in the replication machinery and has been designed to by-pass efflux resistance mechanism of the bacteria. In pre-clinical testing, Bugworks’ novel broad-spectrum antibiotics have demonstrated efficacy against deadly Gram-negative superbugs. Bugworks is based in Delaware, US, and operates its R&D facilities in Bangalore, India.

About CARB-X:

CARB-X is the world’s largest public-private partnership devoted to early stage antibacterial R&D. Funded by BARDA and Wellcome Trust, with in-kind support from NIAID, we will spend up to $455 million from 2017-2021 to support innovative products from ‘hit-to-lead’ stage through to Phase 1 clinical trials. CARB-X focuses on high priority drug-resistant bacteria, especially Gram-negatives. CARB-X is a charitable global public-private partnership led by Boston University. Other partners include the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, MassBio, the California Life Sciences Institute and RTI International.

About Wellcome Trust:

Wellcome exists to improve health for everyone by helping great ideas to thrive. We are a global charitable foundation, both politically and financially independent. We support scientists and researchers, take on big problems, fuel imaginations and spark debate. The Wellcome Trust is a charity registered in England and Wales.

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