CBRN Antibacterial Medical Countermeasures Program

Revitalizing preparedness by accelerating the development
of innovative technologies against drug-resistant infections.

Antibacterials Icon

CBRN Antibacterial Medical Countermeasures Overview

Modern medicine, as we know it, has been made possible by the advent of antibacterials. Health outcomes in the clinic as well as in the community during emergencies or outbreaks rely on effective treatments. Recognizing the challenges facing product development in the antibacterial space and the global threat of antimicrobial resistance, the Antibacterials Program removes barriers to antibacterial drug development through public-private partnerships that provide non-dilutive funding and subject matter expertise.

Our goal is to provide clinicians with therapeutics to prevent and treat biological threat agent infections, antibiotic-resistant secondary infections, and hospital-associated and community-acquired infections.

Antibacterial Overview

CBRN Antibacterials Investment Areas

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In 2014, the United States Government released the National Strategy for Combating Antimicrobial Resistant Bacteria. A component of the National Strategy was to establish a Biopharmaceutical Accelerator for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria [Accelerator], a novel concept proposed by BARDA, to revitalize the pipeline of product developers focused on pre-clinical and IND-enabling Research and Development. The proposed accelerator was designed to provide wrap-around services and early development activities that would help progress candidate therapeutic and vaccine products from the hit-to-lead stage through Phase 1 development, and support diagnostics products through early development. In 2016, BARDA, in partnership with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), and the Wellcome Trust launched the Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria Biopharmaceutical Accelerator (CARB-X); with the mission to “Accelerate a diverse portfolio of innovative antibacterial products towards clinical development and regulatory approval with funding, subject matter expert support, and cross-project initiatives”. Through CARB-X, BARDA is revitalizing the early stage pipeline to increase the number of potential candidates from which NIAID’s early R&D and BARDA’s advanced development programs may select for future funding.

Based out of Boston University, CARB-X now represents the world’s largest pre-clinical and early development pipeline of antibiotics and other therapeutics, diagnostics, and preventatives, including microbiome and vaccines. CARB-X continues to diversify their portfolio through expanded donor contributions from Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research, the UK Government’s Global Antimicrobial Resistance Innovation Fund, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and provide support to projects with a global network of 7 accelerators. This international partnership oversees a unified investment strategy that identifies and fills gaps in critical need antibiotics and other life-saving products to combat the most dangerous drug-resistant bacteria. Since establishment, CARB-X has invested more than $483 million in 92 projects in 11 countries around the world. As of June 2021, CARB-X continues to produce success; including 9 products in first in human studies. Two companies have gone on to receive BARDA funding following the conclusion of their CARB-X contract. Only one product has received funding however, VE303. The diagnostic is not funded by BARDA.

Antibacterial Innovation

Antibacterial Innovation

Drug candidates demonstrating substantial improvements over existing antimicrobial products are important to the Antibacterials Program. Examples include first-in-class compounds with novel mechanisms of action as well as non-traditional modalities and compounds (e.g. bacteriophage, host-directed immunotherapeutics, etc.).

Priority is given to candidates that address pathogen and indication gaps in our portfolio, have the potential to address an unmet medical need, and/or could target a biothreat pathogen.

Novel Antibacterial

Novel Antibacterials

Our focus is on developing innovative drugs that treat drug-resistant bacterial infections, with an emphasis on new classes of antibacterials with novel mechanisms of action. Antibacterials within existing classes must demonstrate a significantly meaningful improvement over marketed products – for example, a broader spectrum of activity or reduced toxicity.

Biothreat Pathogens

Biothreat Pathogens

We are supporting the development of drugs for the post-exposure prophylaxis and treatment of biothreat pathogens. We are interested in antibacterial candidates with activity against one or more of the following biothreat agents: Bacillus anthracis, multidrug-resistant Bacillus anthracis, Yersinia pestis, Francisella tularensis, Burkholderia mallei, and Burkholderia pseudomallei.

Late-Stage Product Development & Post-Marketing Requirements

Late-Stage Dev & Post-Marketing Requirement

Recognizing financial and development challenges persist following product approval, we support the late-stage development and post-marketing requirements of products for post-exposure prophylaxis and treatment of pathogens. Development activities can include: post-marketing commitments, label expansion studies, and studies in underserved patient populations like pediatrics [birth to 16 years], when scientifically and ethically appropriate.

BARDA Programs



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