Sign a letter in support of antifungal R&D … in support of PASTEUR!

Dear All:
 
As you know if you are a regular reader of this newsletter, I think that creation of suitable Pull incentives by passage of the PASTEUR Act in the United States is key to building a vibrant pipeline of products to address the international problem of AMR. I’ve also written recently about the FORWARD Act and its focus on supporting antifungal R&D.
 
It now turns out that there is an opportunity to leverage the joint momentum of these two nascent bills to encourage the US Congress to act. Here’s the key logic:

  • PASTEUR offers support for both new antibacterials and new antifungals
  • The CDC’s 2019 threat list includes two fungal pathogens (Candida, Aspergillus)
  • Fungi offer a new grass-roots issue for politicians to get behind:
    • C. auris has been much in the news
    • Coccidioidomycosis (aka, “Valley Fever”) isn’t on CDC’s list but is a long-standing problem in the desert Southwest: California, Arizona, etc.

 
Taking all this into consideration, the team at PFID (the Partnership to Fight Infectious Diseases) have initiated a group sign-on letter in support of antifungal R&D and (hence as you now understand) in support of PASTEUR.
 
This grassroots effort has rapidly gained speed and now it’s your turn to act by (if appropriate for you), signing this letter! Here’s what you need to know

  • Go to the letter and sign-on page to both see the letter and add your signature (the text of the letter appears below the area where you can add your name)
  • An infographic is also available


As you’ll see when you review the letter, the list of signatories already includes IDSA, BIO, several companies from the (small!) antifungal corporate R&D community (disclaimer: this includes me via my personal work), and of course PFID themselves. Once finalized, the letter will be shared with the Hill champions including the FORWARD Act/PASTEUR Act sponsors as well as the Valley Fever Caucus.
 
The deadline for participation is Wednesday, 2 March 2022. The team driving this project invites signatures from “any organization (national or international) from the fungal community, the AMR community, or frankly anyone who now understands that infectious diseases caused by fungi and bacteria are deadly, getting worse, and require immediate solutions.” Well said … and something we can all get behind!
 
Onward … and please forward this email to anyone you think would want to know about this letter: this isn’t just about the AMR community! –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):

  • [NEW] ICARS– and IDRC-sponsored RFP on gender inequality in AMR (with a focus on sub-Saharan Africa) for proposals of up to $150k for a 9-12 month project. Deadline for proposals is 9 Mar 2022; go here for details. 
  • NIAID has released a four-pronged BAA (Broad Agency Announcement (HHS-NIH-NIAID-BAA2022-1) that covers therapeutics (antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral), vaccines (again, all 3 areas), and diagnostics. Lots of possibilities! The due date is 18 Mar 2022.
  • BARDA is seeking proposals under Project BioShield to support late stage development, regulatory approval and potential procurement of antibiotics against biothreat pathogens, Yersinia pestis, Francisella tularensis, and Burkholderia pseudomallei.  Small businesses can apply until April 6, 2022. Go here for the details.
  • JPIAMR’s 14th call is now open. Entitled “Disrupting drug resistance using innovative design”, the call seeks consortia that would seek to “improve the treatment of bacterial and fungal infections (including co-infection) and/or the prevention of the emergence/spread of resistance in humans, animals or plants through the improvement of the efficacy, specificity, delivery, combinations and/or repurposing of drugs and plant protection agents.” Bacteria, fungi, human health, animal health, and plant health are all in scope! Pre-proposals are due 8 Mar 2022; full proposals would be due 5 July 2022. Go here for details.
  • The AMR Action Fund is now open to proposals for funding of Phase 2 / Phase 3 antibacterial therapeutics. Per its charter, the fund prioritizes investment in treatments that address a pathogen prioritized by the WHO, the CDC and/or other public health entities that: (i) are novel (e.g., absence of known cross-resistance, novel targets, new chemical classes, or new mechanisms of action); and/or (ii) have significant differentiated clinical utility (e.g., differentiated innovation that provides clinical value versus standard of care to prescribers and patients, such as safety/tolerability, oral formulation, different spectrum of activity); and (iii) reduce patient mortality. It is also expected that such agents would have the potential to strongly address the likely requirements for delinked Pull incentives such as the UK (NHS England) subscription pilot and the PASTEUR Act in the US. Submit queries to contact@amractionfund.com.
  • INCATE (Incubator for Antibacterial Therapies in Europe) is a newly launched early-stage funding vehicle. Details are still coming into focus, but per comments on 25 Aug 2021 at the BIOCOM conference, their goal is to support ~4 companies per year with about $250k/company. Contact details are on their website (https://www.incate.net/).
  • 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):

  • [If you missed it, you can now watch the video] 8 Dec 2021: “The New Winds Pushing and Pulling Antibacterial Development.” This FABULOUS program featured talks from the UK team behind the NHS “Netflix” pilot, Kevin Outterson’s recently released report documenting the need for global Pull incentives to have a value of $2.2 – 4.8b, and speakers covering PASTEUR and work in the EU on pull incentives. The video is here — please make time to listen to this program!
  • [GRAM report launch video!]: The 4 Feb 2022 webinar for the GRAM (Global Research on Antimicrobial Resistance) report (“1.27 million deaths per year are directly attributable to AMR”) is now available for replay. #AMRSOS! 
  • 23 Feb 2022 (virtual, 8-9a EST): Pre-application webinar to provide more information and to answer questions. Register here.
  • [NEW] 1 Mar 2022 (virtual x 2 sessions: 10.00-11.30 CET and 15.30-17.00p CET): WHO-sponsored webinar on their Essential Medicines List Antibiotic Book with an emphasis on how it can be used to support national action plans for AMR. Go here to register.
  • 3 Mar 2022 (virtual, 2p GMT): The Longitude Prize (run by Nesta Challenges), CARB-X and FIND, have joined forces for a virtual event in March, AMR& Diagnostic Frontiers: Developing and increasing access to innovative diagnostics in and for low-and-middle-income countries (LMICs). Full agenda details and registration can be found here, including an invitation for diagnostic companies to pitch to a panel of global health representatives.
  • 3-6 Mar 2022 (Albuquerque, New Mexico): Biannual meeting of the MSGERC (Mycoses Study Group Education and Research Consortium). Details are here.
  • 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.
  • 9 Mar 2022 (virtual, and in-person): BioInfect Conference, Alderley Park, UK (near Manchester). This long-running Bionow-sponsored annual conference draws a very strong audience. Go here for details.
  • 7-8 Apr 2022 (Basel and in person, we hope): The 6th edition of the annual AMR conference sponsored by the BEAM AllianceCARB-X, the Novo REPAIR Impact Fund, the IMI Accelerator, and the European Biotechnology Network. Go here for the hold-the-date page and a way to be kept informed about the meeting. 
  • 9-13 May 2022 (Athens and online): 40th Annual Meeting of the European Society for Paediatric Infectious Diseases, Go here for details.
  • 20-24 Sep 2022 (New Delhi): 21st Congress of the International Society for Human and Animal Mycology (ISHAM). Go here for details.
  • 25-28 Oct 2022 (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.

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