2023 Antibacterial Therapeutics Funding Call

Key Features

Innovate UK, LifeArc and Medicines Discovery Catapult partnership PACE are offering £10m grant funding and support for early phase drug discovery and diagnostic projects.

Programme:     PACE

Award:     Share of up to £10 million

Opens: 19th Oct 2023

Closes: 24th Nov 2023

! This scheme is now closed


PACE are looking to help create and advance an exciting and diverse pipeline of preclinical phase projects aimed at treating bacterial infections with high unmet need.

With this aim PACE’s first funding call will focus solely on early-stage, novel, antibacterial therapeutics.

Expressions of interest are invited by 24 November, and an informational webinar will be held on 31 October for interested parties.


PACE are looking for projects directed at the highest-burden drug-resistant bacterial infections and indicationsas highlighted by the Lancet study and by the WHO priority listIn scope indications are: Lower Respiratory Tract Infections (LRTI)Bloodstream Infections (BSI)Intra-abdominal Infections (IAI); and Urinary Tract Infections (UTI).

And projects should be directed at one or more of the following drug-resistant bacteria. They are as follows:

  • Novel therapeutics applicable for drug-resistant bacterial infections associated with WHO critical priority Gram-negative pathogens Enterobacteriaceae (prioritising E. coli and K. pneumoniae), A. baumannii, and P. aeruginosa 
  • Novel oral therapeutics applicable to drug-resistant S. aureus  

Projects should be transformational, with the aim to fill a gap for innovative & differentiated antimicrobials in the clinical pipeline. We encourage projects that are based on the concept of precision medicine where consideration is given to potential patient stratification and diagnostics requirements. Our criteria are aligned with those of potential follow-on funders and the NICE subscription model criteria, paving a route from the bench to patient impact 


PACE’s funding is open to researchers in academia and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) worldwide, including consortia (Large Pharma partners permitted, but must cover own costs)​ 

Applications should have a single lead applicant, however co-applicants are welcome.

PACE intend to fund projects looking at:

  • Hit Validation, Hit-to-Lead, Lead Optimisation, Candidate Selection and Early Preclinical phases 
  • Any novel targets OR novel chemical classes including but not limited to the following mechanisms; direct-acting and non-direct acting antimicrobials, anti-virulence approaches, immunomodulatory agents, and potentiators
  • Any modality including but not limited to small molecules, antibodies, peptides, CRISPR-Cas, complex/targeted modalities, phage.


  • Projects focused solely on IND/CTA-enabling studies or clinical phase R&D 
  • Target Identification, screening and Hit Identification 
  • Antibiotics based on iterations of existing therapeutics e.g. β-lactams
  • Vaccines
  • Infections caused by mycobacteria (including TB), fungal and Gram-positive pathogens other than S. aureus​ 
  • S. aureus therapeutics that are non-oral or focussed on skin or prosthetic joint infection
  • Projects not directly focused on antimicrobial development (e.g. diagnostics, delivery methods, biomarkers, standalone technology, model development). 

Funding Costs

Up to 12 applicants will be awarded a maximum of £1 million in grant funding, with projects expected to last up to two years. AMR innovators worldwide are eligible to apply.

Interested in applying for this competition?

Book an appointment to speak to one of our advisors to discuss your eligibility to apply for this Grant Funding opportunity.