Japanese pharmaceutical firm Shionogi has entered into a collaborative agreement with CARB-X to address growing drug-resistant bacteria.

The collaboration will focus on the development of a new β-lactam antibiotic to fight against strains of enterobacteriaceae, sometimes labelled the ‘nightmare’ bacteria.

The two companies are committed to fund early development projects aimed at finding diagnostics and treatments for the most serious bacterial infections.

Under the deal, Shionogi will initially get a grant of up to $4.7m from CARB-X, with the possibility of an additional $2.9m depending on select project milestones.

Shionogi will use its expertise in small molecule drug discovery for antibacterial candidates to support the formulation of new drugs.

CARB-X executive director Kevin Outterson said: “Shionogi’s commitment to antibacterial innovation and its reputation for research excellence bodes well for this new collaboration.

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“The world urgently needs innovative approaches, like the Shionogi project, to protect us from drug-resistant bacteria.”

“The world urgently needs innovative approaches, like the Shionogi project, to protect us from drug-resistant bacteria.”

The organisation is currently supporting 28 ‘promising’ research projects in seven countries across North America, Europe and Asia. Of the total projects, eight are set to develop new class antibiotics.

The Wellcome Trust in the UK and the US government have announced they will provide $455m in funding over five years for CARB-X, of which the former has currently committed $155m.

At present, the CARB-X portfolio has three diagnostic devices. While new products may not be enough to eradicate superbugs, it is believed that they can help reduce or prevent inappropriate use and overuse of antibiotics.