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Expert Opin Investig Drugs. 2014 Feb;23(2):163-82. doi: 10.1517/13543784.2014.848853. Epub 2013 Nov 11.

Combating multidrug-resistant Gram-negative bacterial infections.

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SynChem, Inc. , 1400 Chase Avenue, Elk Grove Village, IL 60007 , USA +1 847 298 2436 ;



Multidrug-resistant (MDR) bacterial infections, especially those caused by Gram-negative pathogens, have emerged as one of the world's greatest health threats. The development of novel antibiotics to treat MDR Gram-negative bacteria has, however, stagnated over the last half century.


This review provides an overview of recent R&D activities in the search for novel antibiotics against MDR Gram-negatives. It provides emphasis in three key areas. First, the article looks at new analogs of existing antibiotic molecules such as β-lactams, tetracyclines, and aminoglycoside as well as agents against novel bacterial targets such as aminoacyl-tRNA synthetase and peptide deformylase. Second, it also examines alternative strategies to conventional approaches including cationic antimicrobial peptides, siderophores, efflux pump inhibitors, therapeutic antibodies, and renewed interest in abandoned treatments or those with limited indications. Third, the authors aim to provide an update on the current clinical development status for each drug candidate.


The traditional analog approach is insufficient to meet the formidable challenge brought forth by MDR superbugs. With the disappointing results of the genomics approach for delivering novel targets and drug candidates, alternative strategies to permeate the bacterial cell membrane, enhance influx, disrupt efflux, and target specific pathogens via therapeutic antibodies are attractive and promising. Coupled with incentivized business models, governmental policies, and a clarified regulatory pathway, it is hoped that the antibiotic pipeline will be filled with an effective armamentarium to safeguard global health.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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