Forest Laboratories has boosted by data from two late-stage studies which demonstrated postive results of its investigational antibiotic ceftaroline.

In the Phase III studies, called CANVAS I and II, ceftaroline, a broad-spectrum cephalosporin with activity against gram-positive bacteria such as MRSA, met its primary endpoints in treating patients with complicated skin and skin structure infections. Both of the studies, which involved 1,396 adults with cSSSI caused by gram-positive and -negative bacteria, showed that the ceftaroline as monotherapy achieved non-inferiority versus the combination of vancomycin plus aztreonam.

The antibiotic was generally well tolerated and Forest noted that detailed results are expected to be presented later this year at a medical conference.

Howard Solomon, Forest’s chief executive, said there was an urgent need for new broad-spectrum antibiotics such as ceftaroline to treat the growing number of serious infections. He added that the positive results “are an important step in advancing Forest's pipeline, including our commitment to building a robust antibiotic franchise."

However the news failed to have a dramatic impact on Forest shares which have hit six-year lows of late. It appears that investors are concerned about the effects that patent expiries on its flagship antidepressant Lexapro (escitalopram) and Alzheimer’s drug Namenda (memantine) will have in four-five years’ time but Forest feels its pipeline is strong enough to reduce the damage.