The Growing Need for New Antibiotics
With rising antimicrobial resistance, the world is in dire need of new antibiotics. Old antibiotics are becoming ineffective against resistant bacteria, leading to difficult-to-treat infections. Developing new antibiotics is crucial to stay ahead in the fight against superbugs.
Promising New Antibiotics in Development
Despite lacking investment in antibiotics research for decades, the antibiotic pipeline today looks more promising than ever. Various pharmaceutical companies have antibiotics in different stages of clinical trials that can cover a broad spectrum of multidrug-resistant bacteria.
Novel Classes on the Horizon
One exciting development is the emergence of novel classes of antibiotics. These include teixobactin, malacidins, and obamidins, which could become potential treatment options for deadly superbugs like MRSA and resistant gram-negative bacteria. Such novel classes with unique mechanisms of action are key to overcoming antimicrobial resistance.
Focus on Tough-to-Treat Infections
Many new antibiotics in the pipeline are being developed to target difficult-to-treat infections for which treatment options are scarce. For example, zoliflodacin aims to treat gonorrhea, including drug-resistant strains. Lefamulin shows promise against community-acquired bacterial pneumonia. And cefiderocol is an antibiotic active against carbapenem-resistant gram-negative infections.
Streamlining Clinical Trials
Advancements in clinical trial design, such as smaller, faster trials comparing new antibiotics to current best available therapy, help streamline antibiotic development. The FDA is also implementing regulatory initiatives like the Limited Population Pathway to expedite the approval process for antibiotics treating serious infections with limited options.
Promoting Stewardship and Access
As new antibiotics become available, it’s critical they are used judiciously and made accessible to promote stewardship and timely access for patients in need. Efforts are ongoing to ensure optimal antibiotic use while enabling fair pricing and reimbursement.
Continuing Antibiotic Innovation
While the antibiotic pipeline is more robust today, continued investment, research and policy incentives are needed to sustain long-term antibiotic innovation. Developing 10 new systemic antibacterial drugs by 2030 is a goal targeted by leading experts to meet the threat of antibiotic resistance. Going forward, new partnerships, funding models and R&D strategies can help maintain a healthy antibiotic pipeline.