Playing with Wild Cards
The treatment of hospital-acquired bacterial infections is costly to the healthcare system. George Miller, Ph.D., research fellow of Achaogen, noted that one recent study demonstrated that patients who developed a hospital acquired infection each incurred an additional $156,704 in costs, on average.
“Multidrug resistance strains are emerging as natural, evolutionary bacterial responses that ultimately defeat any antibiotic. Today, formerly effective antibiotics such as cephalosporins, carbapenems, aminoglycosides, and fluoroquinolones have been severely compromised by resistant strains. The wild cards are the rate of resistance and the virulence of pathogens.”
Achaogen is developing first-in-class agents, as well as enhancing previously successful approaches. The company’s lead product is a “neoglycoside” or novel aminoglycoside, ACHN-490, that entered into a Phase II trial in March. “A double modification to an existing aminoglycoside produced a neoglycoside.”
“ACHN-490 shows activity against multidrug resistant gram-negative pathogens and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in preclinical studies. It is a broad-spectrum IV infusible therapy.”
Dr. Miller said that the compound “appeared safe and well tolerated in Phase I trials. Animal studies provided encouraging data that the compound was effective in murine lung tissue. It also demonstrated a more reduced potential for ototoxicity than comparator drugs in a guinea pig model.”
Overall, Dr. Miller sees ACHN-490 as a front-line antibacterial, particularly useful in the critical-care arena. Achaogen has four additional antibacterial drug programs in preclinical development.