CARB-X funds novel antibiotics for multidrug-resistant pathogens
CARB-X announced today that it is awarding Swiss pharmaceutical company BioVersys up to $4.35 million to develop a new class of antibiotics to treat life-threatening infections caused by multidrug-resistant bacteria.
The award from CARB-X (the Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria Biopharmaceutical Accelerator) will help BioVersys develop BV300, a novel class of small molecules called pyrrolocytosines that target the ribosome, which is an unexploited binding site in bacterial pathogens. The molecules have demonstrated coverage of both gram-negative and gram-positive bacteria in preclinical testing, including the ESKAPE pathogens (Enterococcus faecium, Staphylococcus aureus, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Acinetobacter baumannii, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Enterobacter species).
Multidrug-resistant ESKAPE pathogens are common causes of severe and life-threatening infections, particularly in immune-compromised patients, patients on ventilators, and infants and young children in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).
“Novel classes of broad-spectrum antibiotics with demonstrated in vitro and in vivo activity against all ESKAPE clinical isolates are like rare gems,” BioVersys Chief Scientific Officer Sergio Lociuro, PhD, said in a CARB-X press release. “We are excited to tackle the challenges of developing this totally new chemical class, potentially providing the first truly broadly active new class of antibiotics since decades.”
BioVersys acquired the molecules from Melinta Therapeutics, which filed for bankruptcy in 2019. The company could be eligible for an additional $10.98 million if the project achieves certain milestones.
The CARB-X portfolio currently has 61 active projects focused exclusively on drug-resistant bacteria.
Jun 1 CARB-X press release
Surveys show rising antibiotic use in sick children in LMICs
Surveys from LMICs found an increase in antibiotic use in sick children under 5, with increases mainly driven by gains among groups often underserved by formal health services, according to a study last week in the International Journal of Infectious Diseases.
Researchers from Uppsala University and the University of Gothenburg in Sweden analyzed 132 Demographic and Health Surveys and Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys conducted from 2005 through 2017 in 73 LMICs to better understand the access-excess divide in antibiotic consumption within countries. The primary outcome was the proportion of children under 5 with reported symptoms of fever, diarrhea, or cough with fast or difficult breathing who received antibiotics in the 2 weeks preceding the surveys. Reported antibiotic use was broken down by user characteristics, including rural/urban residence, maternal education, household wealth, and healthcare source visited.
Across all 73 LMICs, modelled estimates showed the greatest relative increases in rural areas, the poorest wealth quintiles, and populations with the lowest maternal education levels. In low-income countries in particular, rural areas had a greater relative increase compared with urban areas (72% vs 29%), as did the poorest wealth quintiles versus the wealthiest (67% vs 24%) and children of mothers with the lowest education levels in comparison with children of mothers with the highest education levels (72% vs 40%). Relative gains in reported antibiotic use in poor and rural children and those with mothers with low education levels were greater in Southeast Asian countries than in African countries.
Despite these observed increases, reported antibiotic use in sick children under 5 in each year of the study period was consistently highest in urban areas, the wealthiest quintiles, and populations with the highest maternal education.
The study authors say economic growth and declining poverty in many LMICs, along with increased availability of antibiotics in underserved settings, could explain the findings. They add that further research is needed to determine the appropriateness of this increased antibiotic use in sick children.
May 28 Int J Infect Dis study