HHS, AstraZeneca to enter strategic alliance on antibiotic development

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) and AstraZeneca recently formed a partnership to develop antibiotic treatments for life-threatening bacterial infections and those that pose bioterrorism threats.

The ASPR's Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) traditionally supports individual projects rather than an entire portfolio of drug candidates. 

“This agreement demonstrates our commitment to sustaining the development and approval of new drugs which can help us address our biodefense needs but are also desperately needed to address the rising threat of antibiotic resistance,” BARDA Director Robin Robinson said. “We are especially excited to be working jointly with [the European Union’s Innovative Medicines Initiative] to promote the development of new antibiotics. Antibiotic resistance is a global problem, and international collaborations must be part of the solution.”

The first antibiotic to be a part of this partnership is the combination of Aztreonam and Avibactam, or ATM-AVI. The drug is currently in development to treat gram-negative infections that have limited options among currently available medications and treatments. Studies for this candidate also will be conducted on its efficacy against biological threats including meliodosis, the plague and glanders.

As part of the agreement, BARDA initially will supply $50 million toward the product development and provide   up to $170 million over the five-year agreement period.

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