CARB-X, which stands for Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria Biopharmaceutical Accelerator, has named its first projects to receive funding – three in the UK and eight in the US.
Drug-resistant infections kill 700,000 people a year globally. Within a generation, the death toll could be 10 million. The last new antibiotic class to be approved was discovered in 1984.
Tim Jinks, Wellcome’s Head of Drug Resistant Infections, said: "Antibiotic discovery is absolutely vital if we are to tackle drug-resistant infections, but it has been long neglected.
"New medicines and diagnosistic tools are needed so patients get better treatment. Through CARB-X, we’re filling the current void of support for early research."
The CARB-X projects
UK biotech’s Oppilotech and Redx are among three projects working on potential new classes of antibiotics.
The funded projects also include four products offering new approaches to targeting and killing bacteria.
And University of Edinburgh is leading the Proteus project to develop a new imaging tool that can rapidly diagnose bacterial lung infections and help prevent unnecessary use of antibiotics in intensive care units.
All 11 projects are targeting the most resistant and deadly Gram-negative bacteria.
Kevin Outterson, Executive Director of CARB-X, said: "The projects in the new CARB-X portfolio are in the early stages of research, and there is always a high risk of failure. But if successful, these projects hold exciting potential in the fight against the deadliest antibiotic-resistant bacteria."
The aim is that over five years CARB-X funding will result in 20 new antibiotic products, and that at least two will progress to clinical trials for a medicine safe for human use.
Wellcome is calling on other governments and organisations to support CARB-X.
How the CARB-X partnership is funded
All CARB-X funded projects must also contribute their own and commit to stewardship and a plan for fair access to antibiotics.
Our funding forms part of an overall US$450 million funding for CARB-X over the next five years. Around a tenth is earmarked for the first 11 projects, with further funding announcements expected later this year.