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CLSI Announces Leader of West Coast Accelerator to Fight Antimicrobial Resistance

Heather Shane hired as Executive Director of CLSI’s CARB-X program

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO (Sept. 15, 2016) – California Life Sciences Institute (CLSI) today announced the appointment of Heather Shane to build and lead the CLSI CARB-X accelerator, which will provide non-dilutive funding, business support and subject matter expertise to companies with innovative antibiotic product candidates. The Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria Biopharmaceutical Accelerator (CARB-X) is the world’s largest public-private partnership focused on tackling one of the greatest modern threats to public health — antibiotic resistance. CARB-X will commit $50 million during the first year, and at least $350 million over five years, toward preclinical research and development with the aim of accelerating antibiotic product development over the next 25 years. CLSI is the non-profit partner of the California Life Sciences Association (CLSA), and supports the foundations of innovation – workforce development, STEM education and entrepreneurship – that have made California home to the world’s most prominent life sciences ecosystem.

Prior to joining CLSI, Heather served as Vice President & Assistant General Counsel at Theravance Biopharma (TBPH), a Bay Area biopharmaceutical company with a deep and diverse pipeline of product candidates, a commercial-stage antibiotic and financial assets.  At TBPH, Heather handled a broad range of corporate, financing, partnering and operational matters, and honed her legal and business skills in the drug discovery and clinical development process, product commercialization and the regulatory and compliance regimes governing these activities. Heather joined TBPH in connection with its 2014 spin-off from Theravance (now known as Innoviva), where she also served as VP & Assistant General Counsel. Before joining Theravance in 2005, Ms. Shane was a corporate associate with Gunderson Dettmer Stough Villeneuve & Hachigian where she represented startups, venture capital and public company clients in a variety of transactions. Heather earned her J.D. from NYU School of Law and her B.A. from the University of California Santa Barbara.

“I’m thrilled and honored to join the California Life Sciences Institute (CLSI) to build the West Coast CARB-X accelerator,” said Heather Shane, Executive Director, CLSI CARB-X. “There has been an outpouring of support from those in the field upon hearing of this important endeavor, and I am hopeful that our collective efforts will begin to turn the tide in the battle against antimicrobial resistance. CARB-X leadership is the definition of driven, and it is a pleasure building this constellation of accelerators with such a distinguished and dedicated team.”

CARB-X grew out of President Obama’s 2015 Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria (CARB) initiative and will address several goals laid out in the U.S. Federal CARB National Action Plan. Funding is provided through the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), within HHS’ Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR). The Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Centre, a public-private initiative, and the Wellcome Trust, a global charitable foundation, both in the UK, will contribute additional funding, bringing the aggregate to at least $350 million over the five-year program.

The consortium is led by CARB-X Executive Director and Principal Investigator Kevin Outterson from Boston University School of Law, and currently is comprised of four accelerator sites, with the potential for additional sites in the future: The Wellcome Trust; the AMR Centre; MassBio in Cambridge, MA; and CLSI in the San Francisco Bay Area. The accelerator sites will provide world-class business support and mentoring services to innovative product developers selected for CARB-X funding.

The Boston University School of Law-hosted executive team includes experts with decades of experience in antibiotic drug development, including John Rex, Senior Vice President at Astra Zeneca and, as of January 1, 2017, Barry Eisenstein, formerly of Cubist and currently at Merck. The National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID) will provide in-kind services and technical support to projects in the CARB-X portfolio, and RTI International will provide technical and regulatory support services to product developers and build the computing systems to identify, track and monitor all research programs. The Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard will host the new inter-disciplinary Collaborative Hub for Early Antibiotic Discovery (CHEAD) aimed at accelerating the development of small molecule compounds into clinical therapeutics.

For more information on CARB-X, please visit: http://www.carb-x.org/

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About California Life Sciences Institute (CLSI)
California Life Sciences Institute (CLSI) supports the foundations of innovation that have made California home to the world’s most prominent life sciences ecosystem. With a focus on the San Francisco Bay Area, CLSI’s mission is to maintain California’s leadership in life sciences innovation through support of entrepreneurship, education and career development. CLSI is an affiliate of the California Life Sciences Association (CLSA), which represents California’s leading life sciences organization. The California Life Sciences Institute is a non-profit 501(c)(3), and was established in 1990 as the BayBio Institute. Learn more at http://califesciencesinstitute.org.

About CARB-X
CARB-X aims to deliver a growing portfolio of promising new antibiotics, diagnostics, vaccines as well as non-traditional approaches to tackle the threat posed by untreatable bacterial infections. There is no geographic limitation on funding, so the best projects can be funded wherever found. The international partnership will support a suite of products, with an emphasis on game-changing innovation, through early preclinical development to a stage where they can be taken forward by private or public investment. For the first year, the primary focus for the CARB-X portfolio will be on therapeutics to treat Gram-negative bacteria on the Urgent or Serious Threat List prepared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The application process is open as of August 29, 2016, with forms and instructions available on the funding page of the CARB-X website.

Media Contact:
Will Zasadny
Associate Director, Communications for CLSA