August 28, 2019
2 min read

CARB-X grants Vaxxilon up to $1.4M to develop vaccine against resistant K. pneumoniae

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Kevin Outterson, JD
Kevin Outterson

The Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria Biopharmaceutical Accelerator, or CARB-X, granted Vaxxilon AG up to $1.4 million in nondilutive funding to develop a multivalent vaccine to prevent infections caused by carbapenem-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae, according to a news release.

In 2013, the CDC referred to carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae as “nightmare bacteria” because of their association with life-threatening hospital-acquired infections and high mortality rates.

“There's never been an effective vaccine against carbapenem-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae,” Kevin Outterson, JD, executive director of CARB-X, told Infectious Disease News. “Vaxxilon’s vaccine application is highly innovative, because there is no example of even a single valent vaccine against this bacteria, whereas this one is trivalent. This is a vaccine that’s worthy of a try.”

CARB-X is a public-private partnership between HHS’ Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the Wellcome Trust of London, Boston University School of Law and others. The organization plans to invest up to $500 million in antibacterial research and development between 2016 and 2021 to combat the growing threat of antimicrobial resistance.

The current funding is considered the “base,” and Vaxxilon will be eligible for $3.1 million more if certain research milestones are met, such as proven vaccine efficacy in an animal model or a demonstration that it is able to produce sufficient quantities of the product, according to Outterson.

The carbohydrate-based vaccine is named VXN-319 and is currently at the lead optimization stage, according to a news release. Vaxxilon expects it may protect against more than 80% of carbapenem-resistant K. pneumoniae strains.

“We had a global call for proposals and our science advisory board sifted through dozens upon dozens of bacterial vaccine candidates, and this one by Vaxxilon came up as a very high-scoring project,” Outterson said. “We're happy to announce this funding.” – by Joe Gramigna


Boston University School of Law. CARB-X funds Vaxxilon AG to develop a new vaccine to prevent superbug infections. Accessed August 26, 2019.

CDC. Graphs of the year: Nightmare bacteria spread and 100,000 smokers likely quit with tips. Accessed August 26, 2019.

Disclosure: Outterson reports no relevant financial disclosures.