Cheshire's AMR centre joins Obama’s antibiotic crusade

Cheshire's AMR centre joins Obama’s antibiotic crusade

The AMR Centre, based at Alderley Park, Cheshire, is to become a $100m lead player in the world’s largest public-private partnership, focused on the threat posed by antibiotic resistance.

CARB-X - Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria Biopharmaceutical Accelerator (www.carb-x.org) – is a new organisation that will rejuvenate the pipeline of anti-microbial drugs and diagnostics. 

Within Europe antibiotic resistance already claims 25,000 lives a year, but fatality rates are expected to rise dramatically. A recent review for the UK government, led by leading economist Lord O’Neill, concluded that AMR has the potential to be responsible for 10 million extra deaths each year by 2050.

The new partnership has grown out of President Obama’s 2015 Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria (CARB) initiative.

The AMR Centre, a public-private partnership which was itself only established in February this year, as a UK centre of research excellence is one of five organisations which will play a central role in the new partnership.

The AMR Centre is expected to receive up to $14 million in matched funding from CARB-X in year one - and $100 million in total over the next five years.

The combination of its own resources and the contributions from CARB-X means that the AMR centre expects to be able to direct $200 million on a range of R&D projects. These financial resources will be used to help small and medium sized businesses progress their R&D projects into clinical trials.

“The creation of CARB-X is one of the most important steps yet in terms of rethinking how we deal with AMR and the partnership will have an impact around the world,” said Dr Peter Jackson, steering group chairman of the AMR Centre. 

“We share the same goal of accelerating a new pipeline of treatments and diagnostics by working on new drug development programs. We will do this in our own labs as well as in collaboration with other organisations, in particular providing support to small and medium-sized businesses and research institutes which have exciting new approaches to AMR.”

Chris Oglesby, chairman of Manchester Science Partnerships (MSP), said: “CARB-X is setting out a bold vision to protect humanity from the most serious bacterial threats by accelerating antibacterial product development.

“Its geographical scope is unlimited and the brief simply to fund the best science for the most innovative products, wherever they may be found.

“Some of that work will undoubtedly happen here. The North of England has always been a place of innovation and discovery. More than 20 new drugs have been developed at our Alderley Park campus  including new antibiotics.

"Some CARB-X projects will be developed at Alderley Park within the AMR Centre but the funding could also benefit other companies and organisations both inside and outside of our organisation. There is strong capability in terms of people and laboratory resource in our region.

“CARB-X itself has already spoken of collaboration, innovation and urgency as some of its key valves. These are principles that we share at MSP - and we wish the new venture every success in delivering on its important objectives.”

Beginning in September, CARB-X will begin reviewing applications to determine the most promising products to fund.