Antibiotic Programs
An urgent need to address serious, hospital infections.

About drug-resistant bacteria

The past three decades have witnessed a dramatic change in the epidemiology of resistant Gram-positive bacterial infections all over the world. Families of common Gram-positive organisms include Streptococcus, or Strep, Staphylococcus, or Staph, and Enterococcus. Among the conditions associated with these pathogens are skin infections, bacteremia and endocarditis. One of these pathogens, known as methicillin-resistant Staph aureus, or MRSA, was principally identified when resistance was observed to methicillin, an early antibiotic used for Staph aureus and other bacterial infections. Increasingly, strains of MRSA have been identified that are also resistant to many other antibiotics.

The recognition and spread of MRSA, as well as Enterococci resistant to the antibiotic vancomycin, referred to as VRE, in the community and in healthcare facilities represents a major healthcare challenge. Widespread reports of emerging bacterial resistance to existing antibiotics emphasize the need for continued research and development of novel antimicrobials to address possible life-threatening infections caused by Gram-positive resistant pathogens. MRSA was responsible for approximately 94,000 reported infections that resulted in over 19,000 deaths in the United States in 2005, compared to approximately 16,000 deaths from AIDS.

In addition to the high potential for large hospital outbreaks, MRSA and Gram-positive resistance are moving out from hospitals into the community. During the past decade, rates of MRSA in the community have increased rapidly. Thus, an urgent need exists for the development of new antibiotics that will be effective against Gram-positive organisms that are resistant to current antibiotics.

Bicyclolide Antibiotics

Through our internal chemistry efforts, we have created a new family of macrolide antibiotics called Bicyclolides that overcomes resistance and possesses a significantly improved target product profile compared to existing macrolides such as Zithromax™ and Biaxin™. Our current antibiotic approach is aimed at serious hospital infections, including MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus).

EDP-788 / EDP-322

Our lead Bicyclolide antibiotic product candidate is EDP-788, which we are developing for use as an intravenous drug in the hospital setting and for oral dosing in the home setting. EDP-788 is a prodrug, which means that it is inactive until it is converted in the body into an active compound. EDP-788 is a highly water-soluble molecule which, when administered in preclinical models, is cleanly and rapidly converted into the active compound.

The active compound generated from EDP-788 is EDP-322, a Bicyclolide we developed that demonstrates a broad spectrum of activity against many bacterial organisms, including MRSA. All current development activities are focused on intravenous and oral formulations of EDP-788, with additional IND-enabling studies in progress. Our preclinical and early clinical development of EDP-788 is funded under our contract with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, or NIAID.