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Curr Drug Targets Infect Disord. 2001 Aug;1(2):181-99.

The discovery of linezolid, the first oxazolidinone antibacterial agent.

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Pharmacia Corporation, 301 Henrietta Street, Kalamazoo, MI 49007, USA.


The emergence of new antibiotic-resistance in the significant Gram-positive pathogens in the last decade created a substantial medical need for new classes of antibacterial agents. Pharmacia Corporation scientists initiated a discovery research program in oxazolidinone chemistry and biology. Indanone-, tetralone-, and indoline-subunit oxazolidinones provided proof-of-concept interim improvements in antibacterial activity and safety SAR for the program. A method for enantiomeric enrichment of analogs was developed and intensive synthesis and evaluation efforts were undertaken with three oxazolidinone subclasses; the piperazine, indoline, and tropones. Members of the piperazinyl-phenyloxazolidinones possessed the most suitable chemical characteristics and biologic activity of the three subclasses. The monofluorophenyl congener eperezolid and the morpholino analog linezolid emerged as the first clinical candidates from the piperazine oxazolidinones. Linezolid was selected for continued human clinical evaluation based upon its' superior pharmacokinetic profile. Microbiologic testing revealed that linezolid compared very favorably against comparator antibiotics in vitro and in animal infection models. Linezolid possessed a unique mechanism of action in that it inhibited functional 70S initiation complex formation and did not cross-react with existing bacterial resistance. Oral bioavailability in humans was determined to be 100% and twice daily dosing in humans resulted in blood levels which even at trough values were in excess of the MIC90 for significant Gram-positive pathogens. The preclinical promise of linezolid was realized in human clinical trials where linezolid was highly efficacious in the treatment of medically significant Gram-positive infections.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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