Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) has signed an agreement to support CARB-X in the early development of antibiotics, vaccines and diagnostics for drug-resistant bacteria.

Launched in 2016, CARB-X is a global non-profit partnership focused on antibacterial research and development (R&D) to fight the emerging global threat of superbugs.

As part of the agreement, BMBF will offer funding support of €39m over four years.

The German Ministry will also provide €1m to a consortium of the German Center for Infection Research (DZIF), the Federal Institute for Vaccines and Biomedicines (PEI) and the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM), which is set to join the CARB-X Global Accelerator Network.

Drug-resistant infections lead to approximately 700,000 deaths per year globally, including an estimated 33,000 in Europe and 23,000 across the US.

If the resistance continues to rise at current rates, deaths are expected to surge significantly within a generation.

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“Drug resistance is one of the most urgent public-health and health-security threats facing the world today.”

CARB-X executive director Kevin Outterson said: “Drug resistance is one of the most urgent public-health and health-security threats facing the world today. We need political and scientific leadership, vision and sustained effort to win the race against superbugs.”

The funding provided to CARB-X is part of Germany’s €500m R&D budget intended for efforts against antimicrobial resistance over the coming ten years.

BMBF will support CARB-X’s strategy to back R&D projects of companies and scientific institutions worldwide to address antibiotic resistance.

German Federal Research Minister Anja Karliczek said: “The growing number of pathogens being no longer responsive to lifesaving therapies puts the lives of millions of people worldwide at risk.

“Resistant pathogens spread globally. Thus, combatting them takes joint international collaborative actions, such as CARB-X. This is why the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research will support CARB-X with up to €40m.”

CARB-X is supported by multiple other organisations, including the US Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), Wellcome Trust and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).

Including the latest funding support, the partnership currently has up to €480m to support the on-going 35 projects in six countries.