Multi-firm collaboration seeks diagnostic for drug- resistant bacterial infections

Companies will aim to develop other sample types for Xpert Carba-R

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SUNNYVALE, Calif.—A new collaboration has been struck between Cepheid, AstraZeneca, Cubist Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and GlaxoSmithKline in hopes of addressing the issue of infectious disease therapy through the development of a rapid diagnostic test that can target multi-drug resistant pathogens to support the proper use of antibiotics. It is hoped that a more careful approach to treating bacterial infections will mitigate the risk of bacterial resistance that is on the rise.
“Developing rapid molecular diagnostics will enable physicians to treat patients suffering from bacterial infections with a new generation of safe and well-tolerated antibiotics that will target drug-resistant pathogens in an effective way that is not possible with today’s drugs,” Manos Perros, vice president and head of AstraZeneca Infection Innovative Medicines, said in a press release. “The work of this consortium will generate diagnostics which we can use to match the right drug to the patient, help develop our emerging pipeline of pathogen-targeted antibacterials and step up the fight against the threat of antibacterial resistance.”
A 2013 report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) noted that up to 50 percent of all prescribed antimicrobial agents are either unnecessary or not likely to be effective as prescribed. Each year in the United States alone, more than 2 million people acquire serious bacterial infections that prove resistant to one or more of the prescribed antimicrobial agents.
“Antibiotic resistance is a serious health crisis that demands immediate attention. We need both to significantly improve our management of current antibiotics while also investing aggressively in new antibiotics to address these emerging threats,” Dr. Lorianne K. Masuoka, chief medical officer and senior vice president of Clinical Development and Medical Affairs at Cubist, commented in a statement. “A comprehensive and targeted approach combining rapid diagnostics with antibiotics will advance efforts to treat the right patients at the right time at the right dose and duration.”
One of the goals of this consortium will be to extend the number of body sample types for Xpert Carba-R, a rapid test currently under development for use with rectal swab samples to detect the presence of potentially life-threatening bacteria. This collaboration could expand the type of samples to include respiratory samples from pneumonia patients. The test is commercially available outside of the United States, with an expected U.S. commercial release of 2015, pending regulatory approval.
“There is clearly a need to identify patients with multi-drug-resistant infections more rapidly and provide them with more potent antimicrobial agents, especially those that are active against multi-drug resistant organisms,” said Dr. Fred Tenover, vice president for Scientific Affairs at Cepheid and former director of the CDC’s Office of Antimicrobial Resistance. “Once available, our Xpert Carba-R test could prove to be a valuable tool as the fight against multidrug resistant infections intensifies. Cepheid is very pleased to be working with these distinguished pharmaceutical partners to meet their diagnostic needs, reduce the complexity of clinical trials and accelerate the approval of these much needed anti-infective compounds.”
SOURCE: Cepheid press release

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