Pfizer’s antibiotic Zavicefta has now been launched in the UK to treat serious aerobic Gram-negative infections caused by resistant bacteria.
Zavicefta is a fixed combination of avibactam, a new beta-lactamase inhibitor, and ceftazidime, an antibiotic belonging to the class of third generation cephalosporins already approved for use in the EU.
According to Pfizer, the drug has been designed to manage difficult-to-treat infections that are becoming increasingly resistant to current standards of care, and represents an important treatment advance, especially in patients where the consequences of antibiotic treatment failure due to resistance can be devastating.
Resistance to cephalosporins and other antibiotics is on the rise particular in Gram-negative bacteria; by inhibiting the action of beta-lactamases, which play a key role in the development of bacterial resistance to such antibiotics, avibactam restores the activity of ceftazidime.
“The need to tackle multi-drug resistant pathogens is pressing and will require a lot of ingenuity. In hospital and in the community, it is becoming increasingly difficult to predict Gram-negative sensitivity to antibiotics,” noted Dr Matthew Dryden, consultant microbiologist at NHS Hampshire Hospitals.
He went on to say that the rate of carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriacae is expected to increase significantly in UK hospitals as it has done elsewhere in the next 10 to 15 years, which is “particularly troubling as carbapenems are one of the remaining drugs used as a last line of defence.
“There is an urgent need for new diagnostics, antibiotics and therapeutic strategies that address the challenge of treating hospitalised patients with infections caused by resistant pathogens, for which very few effective and tolerable treatment options are currently available.”
Clinical trials have shown that Zavicefta was proven to be as effective as current carbapenem standards of care in the treatment of serious aerobic Gram-negative infections, including in patients with infections caused by ceftazidime-resistant bacteria.
Zavicefta, which was approved in European Union in June last year, was jointly developed by AstraZeneca and Allergan. AZ held the global commercialisation rights with the exception of North America, which belong to Allergan, but transferred them to Pfizer with the sale of large parts of its small molecule antibiotics business in August.