NIAID/DMID thinking for FY2026: Antibacterials, Phage, and Antifungals

Dear All,

NIAID’s DMID (Division of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases) recently held a council meeting during which they proposed program concepts that encompassed both antibacterial therapies (including phage) as well as antifungal therapies for funding in FY 2026 (the year that would run from 1 Oct 2025 to 30 Sep 2026).

There is no guarantee that these ideas will become funded programs, but I thought that knowing of them might be important for your planning! Brief additional written details as well as a contact person at DMID for each concept can be found here. The council discussions of each can be heard by replaying this video starting at the given time stamp. Here are the 4 ideas:

  • Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria (CARB) Interdisciplinary Research Units
    • Objective: “To support multidisciplinary research centers focused on discovery to early development research to inform new approaches to prevent, diagnose, and treat antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections.”
    • Video timestamp: 47.00
  • Chemistry Center for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria (CC4CARB)
    • Objective: “To address a key bottleneck in antimicrobial therapeutics discovery by supporting the acquisition, design, synthesis, and delivery of chemical libraries of novel discrete natural products and small molecules with diverse physicochemical properties, specifically designed for targeting Gram-negative bacterial pathogens.”
    • This is one is a continuation of the ongoing CC4CARB program.
    • Video timestamp: 58.00
  • Centers for Accelerating Phage (Bacteriophage) Therapy to Combat ESKAPE Pathogens
    • Objective: “To advance phage clinical research by supporting preclinical assays and tools for phage therapy to combat antimicrobial resistance (AMR).”
    • Video timestamp: 1.17.00
  • Discovery/Development of Novel Therapeutics for Select Fungal Pathogens
    • Objective: “To support milestone-driven, early-stage translational research focused on drug discovery and development of novel therapeutics against select fungal pathogens including Candida species, specifically Candida auris; Aspergillus fumigatus; Coccidioides; and Mucorales.”
    • Video timestamp: 1.28.00


These are all great ideas … I hope they all become a reality! Well done, Team DMID! With thanks to our colleagues in US government and with 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://13.43.35.2/blog/. All opinions are my own.

Current funding opportunities

  • [RECENT] The GHIT Fund have released calls for collaborations between Japanese and non-Japanese companes for “drugs, vaccines and diagnostics for infectious diseases prevalent in developing countries” (RFP-PD-2024-002) and “technologies and approaches that address unmet or priority needs within malaria, tuberculosis (TB) and Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs)” (RFP-TRP-2024-002). Both calls support projects of up to 2 years in length have an 11 July 2024 deadline for submission of an Intent to Apply. 
  • [RECENT] Vivli has announced the 2024 Vivli AMR Surveillance Data Challenge. This particular challenge is funded by GARDP, Paratek, Pfizer and Vivli and aims to encourage and support the innovative re-use of surveillance data shared by GSK, Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, Shionogi, Paratek and Venatorx that are now available in the Vivli AMR Register. This is 2nd AMR data challenge from Vivli — see the 20 Oct 2023 newsletter for a discussion of the outcome of this first challenge. This 2nd challenge offers monetary prizes, including travel funding to attend ESCMID Global or ASM Microbe in 2025 (if an abstract is accepted), and a new AMR Student Innovation Award. The deadline for expressions of interest is 28 July 2024. For more details, go here
  • [RECENT] The AMR Industry Alliance have announced the 2024 edition of their ongoing annual series of stewardship prizes. Applications for innovative approaches to AMR stewardship are sought from public, private or not-for-profit health care organization or institution operating in an LMIC. This year’s deadline is 1 Sep 2024. Go here for details.
  • Environmental AMR issues, anyone? ICARS has call open through 1 Aug 2024 for “projects in the public health sphere that aim to mitigate the evolution and transmission of resistance in the natural or built environment.” Grants are available of up to $800k for up to 4 years. Go here for details; for questions and submissions, write to RFP_EDAR@icars-global.org. Applicants should also refer to “Mitigating antimicrobial resistance (AMR) using implementation research: a development funder’s approach” from JAC 2023 (https://doi.org/10.1093/jacamr/dlad031).
  • CARB-X has open calls that span four areas: (i) Therapeutics for Gram-Negatives, (ii) Prevention for Invasive Disease, (iii) Diagnostics for Neonatal Sepsis, and (iv) Proof-Of-Concept for Diagnosing Lower-Respiratory-Tract Infections. See this 6 Mar 2024 newsletter for a discussion of the call and go here for the CARB-X webpage on the call. There are multiple opportunities to submit — see the CARB-X webpage for details.
  • BARDA’s long-running BAA (Broad Agency Announcement) for medical countermeasures (MCMs) for chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) threats, pandemic influenza, and emerging infectious diseases is now BAA-23-100-SOL-00004 and offers support for both antibacterial and antifungal agents (as well as antivirals, antitoxins, diagnostics, and more). Note especially these Areas of Interest: Area 3.1 (MDR Bacteria and Biothreat Pathogens), Area 3.2 (MDR Fungal Infections), and Area 7.2 (Antibiotic Resistance Diagnostics for Priority Bacterial Pathogens). Although prior BAAs used a rolling cycle of 4 deadlines/year, the updated BAA released 26 Sep 2023 has a 5-year application period that ends 25 Sep 2028 and is open to applicants regardless of location: BARDA seeks the best science from anywhere in the world! See also this newsletter for further comments on the BAA and its areas of interest.
  • HERA Invest was launched August 2023 with €100 million to support innovative EU-based SMEs in the early and late phases of clinical trials. Part of the InvestEU program supporting sustainable investment, innovation, and job creation in Europe, HERA Invest is open for application to companies developing medical countermeasures that address one of the following cross-border health threats: (i) Pathogens with pandemic or epidemic potential, (ii) Chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) threats originating from accidental or deliberate release, and (iii) Antimicrobial resistance (AMR). Non-dilutive venture loans covering up to 50% of investment costs are available. A closing date is not posted insofar as I can see — applications are accepted on a rolling basis; go here for more details.
  • The AMR Action Fund is open on an ongoing basis 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 an early-stage funding vehicle supporting innovation vs. drug-resistant bacterial infections. The fund provides advice, community, and non-dilutive funding (€10k in Stage I and up to €250k in Stage II) to support early-stage ventures in creating the evidence and building the team needed to get next-level funding. Details and contacts on their website (https://www.incate.net/).
  • These things aren’t sources of funds but would help you develop funding applications
    • 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.
    • Diagnostic developers would find valuable guidance in this 6-part series on in vitro diagnostic (IVD) development. Sponsored by CARB-XC-CAMP, and FIND, it pulls together real-life insights into a succinct set of tutorials.
  • 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).


John’s Top Recurring Meetings
Virtual meetings are easy to attend, but regular attendance at annual in-person events is the key to building your network and gaining deeper insight. My personal favorites for such in-person meetings are below. Of particular value for developers are the AMR Conference and the ASM-ESCMID conference. Hope to see you there!

  • 17-20 Sep 2024 (Porto, Portugal): ASM/ESCMID Joint Conference on Drug Development to Meet the Challenge of Antimicrobial Resistance. Go here to register!
  • 16-20 Oct 2024 (Los Angeles, USA): IDWeek 2024, the annual meeting of the Infectious Diseases Society of America. Save the date! More details to come!
  • 25-26 February 2025 (Basel, Switzerland): The 9th AMR Conference 2025. Go here to register
  • 11-15 April 2025 (Vienna, Austria): ESCMID Global 2025, the annual meeting of the European Society for Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases. Go here for details. 

 

Upcoming meetings of interest to the AMR community:

  • [NEW] 27 June 2024 (virtual, 12.00-13.30 CEST): WHO webinar entitled “Meaningful engagement of AMR Survivors in implementing National Action Plans on AMR.” Go here to register.
  • 27 June 2024 (virtual, 5p-630p CEST): GARDP REVIVE Webinar “Progressing an antibacterial drug discovery project – an SME perspective.” Click here for details and to register.
  • [NEW] 11 July 2024 (virtual, 12.30-14.00 CEST): WHO webinar entitled “Addressing gender inequalities in national action plans on antimicrobial resistance.” Go here to register.
  • [RECENT] 22 Aug 2024 (virtual, 5p-630p CEST): GARDP REVIVE Webinar “Exploring non-traditional antimicrobials: Insights from three cases.” Go here for details and to register. If non-traditional approaches interest you, please do be sure to review the challenges that are raised in the papers discussed in the 6 Aug 2019 newsletter entitled “Non-Traditional Antibiotics: A Pipeline Review And An Analysis Of Key Development Challenges.” Developing non-traditional products is MUCH harder than you might expect … it is important to know the issues!
  • 17-20 Sep 2024 (Porto, Portugal): ASM/ESCMID Joint Conference on Drug Development to Meet the Challenge of Antimicrobial Resistance. See Recurring Meetings list, above.
  • 16-20 Oct 2024 (Los Angeles, USA): IDWeek 2024, the annual meeting of the Infectious Diseases Society of America. See Recurring Meetings list, above. 
  • 19-27 Oct 2024 (Annecy, France, residential in-person program): ICARe (Interdisciplinary Course on Antibiotics and Resistance). Now in its 8th year, Patrice Courvalin directs the program with the support of an all-star scientific committee and faculty. The resulting soup-to-nuts training covers all aspects of antimicrobials, is very intense, and routinely gets rave reviews! Seating is limited, so mark your calendars now if you are interested. Applications open in March 2024 — go here for more details.
  • 4-5 Dec 2024 (in person, Washington, DC): “Fungal Dx 2024: Fungal Diagnostics in Clinical Practice” is a 2-day in-person workshop organized by ISHAM‘s Fungal Diagnostics Working Group. The program and registration links are available at https://fungaldx.com/; the agenda is comprehensive and features an all-star global list of speakers.
  • 11-15 April 2025 (Vienna, Austria): ESCMID Global 2025, the annual meeting of the European Society for Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases. See Recurring Meetings list, above.

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