HHS invests up to $287 million for possible drug-resistance solutions
The US Department of Health and Human Services announced today it has invested more than $67 million into partnerships with two drug companies to develop innovative antibiotics and diagnostics to help combat the growing threat of multidrug-resistant bacterial infections, with options that could bring the investment to about $284 million.
The agreement, which will be managed by the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), part of the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR), involves The Medicines Company, headquartered in Parsippany, N.J., and Hoffmann-LaRoche Inc., part of the Roche Group, based in Basel, Switzerland, HHS said in a news release.
The partnership with The Medicines Company will continue to advance the development of multiple antibiotics, including Carbavance, a drug being developed to treat hospital-acquired bacterial pneumonia and ventilator-acquired bacterial pneumonia. Under a 2014 ASPR contract, Rempex, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Medicines Company, began evaluating Carbavance as a possible treatment for serious gram-negative infections, such as complicated urinary tract infections and infections caused by carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae.
The partnership with Roche will include continued development of diagnostic tests to detect specific viral and bacterial infections, which could help avoid unnecessary antibiotic prescriptions. The investment will also go toward an investigational antibiotic being developed to treat a variety of infections caused by drug-resistant bacteria in combination with another antibiotic. In addition, Roche will continue to review promising products that are in early research stages that could be added to the contract.
BARDA will provide more than $32 million over 4 years and potentially more than $132 million over 5 years to The Medicines Company and more than $35 million over 2 years and potentially more than $151.6 million over 5 years to Hoffmann-LaRoche Inc.
"The partnerships are the third and fourth ASPR has formed under other transaction authority," HHS said in the release. "All of the partnerships focus on developing new products to address the rising threat of antibiotic resistant infections."
Sep 21 HHS news release
Novel MRSA strain likely linked to poultry meat
A study today in Clinical Infectious Diseases suggests that 10 human cases of MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) were probably linked to eating contaminated poultry.
Though MRSA has previously been found in livestock, most people don't contract the "superbug" from foods. This study used genetic analysis to show how 10 cases of MRSA between 2009 and 2015 likely originated in turkey and chicken distributed throughout Europe. The genotype, LA-MRSA CC9/CC398, had never been found in Danish livestock, and the patients had no livestock exposure.
The study demonstrates both poultry and human adaptation of MRSA, which is resistant to most antibiotics. The authors wrote, "Isolates from the epidemiologically linked urban cases were nearly identical to each other, suggesting either transmission between these persons or acquisition from a common source, for example, a contaminated food product."
The authors recommend heightened surveillance for S aureus in consumer food products.
Sep 21 Clin Infect Dis study