Bulletin, Institute

CLSI Participates in BARDA Industry Days and the One Nucleus Leadership Seminar – Addressing Infectious Disease Challenges

Heather Shane, Executive Director of the California Life Sciences Institute’s (CLSI) CARB-X Accelerator, spoke in November on two occasions about CARB-X and CLSI’s role in helping to move companies that are addressing the problem of Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) through the product development pipeline. Her first appearance was at BARDA Industry Days in Washington, DC, where Ms. Shane spoke about “The CARB-X Model” on a panel that also included Tyler Merkeley, BARDA CARB-X Program Manager, Zachary Zimmerman, CEO of “Powered by CARB-X” company Forge Therapeutics, and John Mueller, Chief Development Officer of “Powered by CARB-X” company Entasis Therapeutics.

Ms. Shane discussed how the CLSI CARB-X accelerator model is flexible and customized to address the needs of each portfolio company based on its stage of development, individual circumstances, and management team. As with its very successful FAST Accelerator, CLSI provides this customized and swift support to portfolio companies in overcoming technical hurdles and business challenges through access to an extensive network of subject matter experts and resources. She also described the benefits of being a Powered by CARB-X company, which include non-dilutive funding, making companies more attractive to investors and downstream partners, validation of their technology, international press recognition, and being part of a global community focused on combatting AMR.

Subsequently, Ms. Shane appeared at One Nucleus’ Leadership Seminar on “Addressing Infectious Disease Challenges” in Chesterford Research Park, Cambridge, UK.  She spoke on the topic of “New Models to Incentivize and Support Early Stage R&D in the AMR Space” along with Peter Jackson, Executive Chairman of the AMR Centre, Alderley Park, UK. Ms. Shane provided background on the genesis of CARB-X, describing its unique structure, and CARB-X’s progress 15 months after its launch. She outlined the 22 projects in the portfolio, seven of which are developing novel classes of antibiotics. These companies are working on ten new targets and ten of the projects represent non-traditional approaches, including bifunctional immunotherapy, recombinant lysin proteins, antibody-drug conjugates and microbiome modulation. CARB-X has announced $60M in awards since launch, with an additional $75M committed if all future milestones are met.

As at BARDA Industry Days, Ms. Shane described the role of accelerators in providing access to a network of subject matter experts and resources within a decentralized framework. She discussed the ways in which CLSI is fueling the CARB-X pipeline by including prospective AMR companies in CLSI’s FAST accelerator program, and how the Institute is strengthening the AMR community by building support for CARB-X projects and AMR innovation.