Open call to fund an EU-based novel antibacterial to IND

Dear All,

GNA NOW (part of the IMI AMR Accelerator; this 25 Mar 2021 press release is a good overview of the AMR Accelerator) has just announced an open call to identify a novel mechanism candidate antibacterial to add to its portfolio.

For those not familiar with it, the IMI AMR Accelerator is a 295 m€ IMI program running 2019-2025 that aims to deliver up to 10 new preclinical candidates and 5 Phase II-ready assets by 2025. About 2/3rd of the effort is focused on TB and 1/3rd on novel antibacterials for Gram-negative bacteria or general support work. It is my understanding the usual IMI rules apply for the IMI AMR Accelerator: the projects will be implemented via a mixture of in-kind support from EFPIA member companies combined with project funding that must be deployed within Europe. 

GNA NOW (Gram-Negative Antibiotics NOW) is one the 7 projects now underway under the overall umbrella of the IMI AMR Accelerator. GNA NOW started work 1 Jul 2019 with 3 named subprojects. Although precise details on program evolution are not stated, the call makes it clear that GNA NOW is ready to take in a 4th subproject by providing  resources equivalent up to several million € (to be defined according to project needs). Here’s an excerpt from the call document that describes the type of candidate drug being sought:

  • A series at lead-to-candidate stage or a development candidate under or ready for preclinical development, with a Target Product Profile (TPP)-consistent spectrum, an acceptable resistance risk, satisfactory ADME/PK properties, demonstrated in vivo efficacy, an established IP position and a suitable safety profile
  • Addressing severe hospital infections (blood, complicated urinary tract, and intra-abdominal infections as well as hospital/ventilator-associated pneumonia) caused by key sensitive and resistant Gram(-) bacteria from the following list: Enterobacteriaceae, Pseudomonas, and Acinetobacter.
  • Having a novel mode of action (no cross-resistance with marketed classes of antibacterials, i.e. via modulation of a new/underexplored target or via binding to a new site of a known target)
  • Directly acting antibacterial effect or potentiators that are small molecules (including natural products and derivatives, small peptides but no biologics)

OK, that’s a pretty broad scope — does this match your project? A webinar on the open call is scheduled for tomorrow Wed 12 May at 10.00-11.00 CEST; go here to register. If that’s not a user-friendly time for you, I’m told the webinar will be posted for later streaming.

Expressions of interest are due by 18 June 2021. Get busy!

All best wishes, –jr

John H. Rex, MD | Chief Medical Officer, F2G Ltd. | Operating Partner, Advent Life Sciences. Follow me on Twitter: @JohnRex_NewAbx. See past newsletters and subscribe for the future: https://amr.solutions/blog/. All opinions are my own.

Current funding opportunities (most current list is here):

  • NIAID’s 2021 Broad Agency Announcement for product development is entitled “Development of Medical Countermeasures for Biothreat Agents, Antimicrobial-Resistant Infections an Emerging Infectious Diseases” and is now live with a 24 May 2021 deadline. Research areas include Vaccines, Therapeutics, and Sequencing-Based Diagnostics.
  • GNA NOW (part of the IMI AMR Accelerator) has an open call to identify a novel mechanism antibacterial to add to its portfolio. The selected project would receive resources equivalent up to several million € (to be defined according to project needs). Expressions of interest are due by 18 June 2021. 
  • CARB-X recently announced that their existing resources will be reserved to fund their existing portfolio (more than 80 total awards, and counting, as they include contracting from prior rounds). New rounds from CARB-X will occur only after new funding is obtained in 2021.
  • It’s not a funder, but AiCuris’ AiCubator offers incubator support to very early stage projects. Read more about it here.
  • The Global AMR R&D Hub’s dynamic dashboard (link) summarizes the global clinical development pipeline, incentives for AMR R&D, and investors/investments in AMR R&D.
  • In addition to the lists provided by the Global AMR R&D Hub, you might also be interested in my most current lists of R&D incentives (link) and priority pathogens (link).


Upcoming meetings of interest to the AMR community (most current list is here):

  • 10-12 May 2021 (virtual): UK-focused Virtual AMR Innovation Mission sponsored by Innovate UK in collaboration with AMR Insights and Oxford innovation. This free 3-day virtual event seeks to connect AMR-focused start-ups, SMEs and Multinationals, Academia, Research Institutes, Regional Development Companies and other interested stakeholders in the UK, Europe and other parts of the world. It will be followed (COVID-willing!) by a face-to-face mission scheduled for 11-15 Oct 2021. Go here for more details.
  • 12 May 2021 (virtual, 11a-12.30p EST): Duke-Margolis-sponsored webinar entitled “Combating Rising Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) & Advancing Public Health Preparedness.” Including discussions by two former FDA Commissioners (Scott Gottleib, Mark McClellan), the webinar will focus on the policy issues around AMR. Go here for the agenda and to register.
  • 13 May 2021 (virtual, 9.30-11.00a EST): CDC-sponsored webinar entitled “AMR in a Changed World: Building Resilient Systems for Today and Tomorrow.” Moderated by CDC’s Michael Craig, an international panel will discuss “where we go from here to address AMR after the COVID-19 pandemic.” Go here to register.
  • 18-21 May 2021 (Albuquerque, New Mexico): Biannual meeting of the MSGERC (Mycoses Study Group Education and Research Consortium). Save-the-date announcement is here, details to follow.
  • 24-29 May 2021 (virtual and in Geneva): ESPID 2021, the 39th Annual Meeting of the European Society for Paediatric Infectious Diseases. Save-the-date announcement is here, details to follow. 
  • 27 May 2021 (virtual, 9.30a-11.00 CEST): GARDP-sponsored webinar entitled “New clinical trial designs for evaluation of antimicrobial agents.” Go here to register.
  • 7-9 Jun 2021 (virtual, various times): 5th International Conference on Responsible Use of Antibiotics in Animals. This conference runs only every few years … the 4th instance was in 2016. Go here to register.
  • 20-24 Jun 2021 (Toronto): International Symposium on Pneumococci and Pneumococcal Diseases (ISPPD-12). Go here for details.
  • 20-24 Jun 2021 (virtual, various times): World Microbe Forum sponsored by the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) and the Federation of European Microbiological Societies (FEMS). Go here for more details and to register.
  • 27 Jun-2 Jul 2021 (Ventura, CA): Gordon Research Conference entitled “Antimicrobial Peptides”. Go here for details, go here for the linked 26-27 Jun Gordon Research Seminar that precedes it.
  • 9-12 Jul 2021 (virtual): Annual ECCMID meeting (#31)
  • 26 Jul-30 Jul 2021 (online): Small World Initiative Instructor Training Workshop – training for undergraduate professors in the wet lab techniques, parallel curricula, & pedagogical instruction to engage students in the hunt to find new antibiotic-producing soil microbes. Go here to register.
  • 14-29 Aug 2021 (Marine Biology Laboratory, Woods Hole, MA): Residential course entitled “Molecular Mycology: Current Approaches to Fungal Pathogenesis.” This 2-week intensive training program has run annually for many years and gets outstanding reviews. Go here for details.
  • 8-11 Oct 2021 (Aberdeen, Scotland): 10th Trends in Medical Mycology. Go here for details.
  • 11-15 Oct 2021 (physical, somewhere in the UK): UK-focused Innovation Mission sponsored by Innovate UK in collaboration with AMR Insights and Oxford innovation. This free event seeks to connect AMR-focused start-ups, SMEs and Multinationals, Academia, Research Institutes, Regional Development Companies and other interested stakeholders in the UK, Europe and other parts of the world. Go here for more details.
  • 16-24 Oct 2021 (Annecy, France): Interdisciplinary Course on Antibiotics and Resistance (ICARe). This is a soup-to-nuts residential course on antibiotics, antibiotic resistance, and antibiotic R&D. The course is very intense, very detailed, and gets rave reviews. Registration is here and is limited to 40 students. Bonus feature: For obvious reasons, the course didn’t happen in 2020! But as a celebration of the course’s 5th year, a webinar version was held on 29 Oct 2020: go here to stream it. 
  • 25-28 Oct 2021 (Stellenbosch, South Africa): The University of Cape Town’s H3D Research Centre will celebrate its 10th anniversary with a symposium covering the Centre’s research on Malaria, TB, Neglected Tropical Diseases, and AMR. Go here to register.
  • 6-11 Mar 2022 (Il Ciocco, Tuscany): Gordon Research Conference entitled “New Antibacterial Discovery and Development”. Go here for details, go here for the linked 5-6 Mar Gordon Research Seminar that precedes it.

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