Becker K, Aranzana-Climent V, Cao S, Nilsson A, Shariatgorji R, Haldimann K, Platzack B, Hughes D, Andrén PE, Böttger EC, Friberg LE, Hobbie SN, ENABLE consortium
Clin. Microbiol. Infect. 27 (9) 1315-1321 [2021-09-00; online 2020-12-11]
Novel therapeutics are urgently required for the treatment of carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii (CRAB) causing critical infections with high mortality. Here we assessed the therapeutic potential of the clinical-stage drug candidate EBL-1003 (crystalline free base of apramycin) in the treatment of CRAB lung infections. The genotypic and phenotypic susceptibility of CRAB clinical isolates to aminoglycosides and colistin was assessed by database mining and broth microdilution. The therapeutic potential was assessed by target attainment simulations on the basis of time-kill kinetics, a murine lung infection model, comparative pharmacokinetic analysis in plasma, epithelial lining fluid (ELF) and lung tissue, and pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic (PKPD) modelling. Resistance gene annotations of 5451 CRAB genomes deposited in the National Database of Antibiotic Resistant Organisms (NDARO) suggested >99.9% of genotypic susceptibility to apramycin. Low susceptibility to standard-of-care aminoglycosides and high susceptibility to EBL-1003 were confirmed by antimicrobial susceptibility testing of 100 A. baumannii isolates. Time-kill experiments and a mouse lung infection model with the extremely drug-resistant CRAB strain AR Bank #0282 resulted in rapid 4-log CFU reduction both in vitro and in vivo. A single dose of 125 mg/kg EBL-1003 in CRAB-infected mice resulted in an AUC of 339 h × μg/mL in plasma and 299 h × μg/mL in ELF, suggesting a lung penetration of 88%. PKPD simulations suggested a previously predicted dose of 30 mg/kg in patients (creatinine clearance (CLCr) = 80 mL/min) to result in >99% probability of -2 log target attainment for MICs up to 16 μg/mL. This study provides proof of concept for the efficacy of EBL-1003 in the treatment of CRAB lung infections. Broad in vitro coverage, rapid killing, potent in vivo efficacy, and a high probability of target attainment render EBL-1003 a strong therapeutic candidate for a priority pathogen for which treatment options are very limited.