CARB-X Collaborative Hub for Early Antibiotic Discovery

The Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria Biopharmaceutical Accelerator (CARB-X) is a global initiative dedicated to protecting humankind from the most serious bacterial threats to human health by accelerating antimicrobial therapeutics and diagnostics towards clinical development.

Supported by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) and the Wellcome Trust, CARB-X brings key stakeholders from the government, not-for-profit, and academic sectors together to fund and support the translation of the best science for the most innovative antibacterial tools.

The Collaborative Hub for Early Antibiotic Discovery (CHEAD) at the Broad Institute supports CARB-X by acting as an interdisciplinary center for early stage development of molecules identified by academic investigators engaged in antibiotic development and/or resistance research.

CHEAD will partner with academic laboratories to evaluate and accelerate the development of promising small molecule therapeutics toward Investigational New Drug/Investigational Device Exemption (IND/IDE) application. These molecules will fall into four categories:

  • Those discovered through a whole-cell screen with a known, novel target
  • Those with whole-cell activity as identified through novel biological phenotypes, but whose target may be unknown
  • Those with activity against a novel target in a biochemical assay and some whole-cell activity
  • Those found with an innovative and transforming platform with some whole-cell activity

CHEAD capabilities include:

  • Medicinal chemistry
  • Protein biochemistry
  • Protein structural biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Biophysics
  • Analytical screening
  • In vivo ADME (absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion) testing
  • In vivo pharmacokinetics

CHEAD will also provide an environment where academic laboratories engaged in antimicrobial research can network and collaborate together, with the goal of advancing innovation and productivity in antibiotic discovery. Projects will have one of three possible outcomes:

  • The molecule will be successfully optimized from a hit to a lead. CHEAD will then facilitate partnerships with members of the biotech and pharmaceutical industry.
  • The molecule cannot be optimized further, but during development efforts, innovative or promising biology and/or assays were discovered. CHEAD will make recommendations to the academic lab aimed at identifying alternate or additional hits.
  • The molecule cannot be optimized further and there is no clear path for identifying further hits. CHEAD will then terminate the project.

Applying to partner with CHEAD

Academic laboratories and investigators seeking to partner with CHEAD will be able to download the application here.

Proposed projects will be reviewed and, if accepted for partnership, prioritized by a scientific advisory committee of CARB-X board members and CHEAD leadership.

Partnership term

Partnerships with CHEAD will be evaluated every six months to assess progress and the value of continued CHEAD investment. Projects can continue for up to four years.


Groups from any non-profit, research institution are eligible to apply for CHEAD support.

Deadlines and Review Timeline

Application deadline: May 1, 2018 
Decision of projects selected: May 15, 2018 
Formulation of work and resource plan in partnership with CHEAD: May 15-June 15, 2018 
Proposed research start date: no later than June 16, 2018

Review Criteria

Projects will be selected based on the importance of the need that they address, innovative concepts addressed by the project, feasibility of developmental progression, and the impact that CHEAD resources may have on candidate development. 

Contact CHEAD

If you have additional questions about CHEAD or CARB-X, email CHEAD at or visit the main CARB-X website.