Arixa Pharmaceutical Inc., a US based biopharmaceutical company with research focus on the development of next-generation oral antibiotics. Arixa’s lead compound ARX-1796 is an oral prodrug of avibactam, a beta lactamase inhibitor (BLI), it was approved by US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2015 to treat drug resistant gram-negative infection. Administered intravenously under a combination regime with ceftazidime, the drug avibactam is sold under the trade name Zaficefta by Pfizer outside the US and as Avycaz in the US.
The financial details of this acquisition have not been disclosed and through this acquisition, Pfizer will advance the development of Arixa’s leading asset. Currently, this investigational candidate completed Phase I trial and the results indicate that 60% to 80% of ARX-1796 was absorbed orally in contrast to avibactam which had a poor absorption rate of 7% on oral ingestion.
Once approved, the investigational drug can be used as a part of the next generation oral antibiotic combination regimen for resistant urinary tract infection and other gram-negative bacterial diseases. Till date, clavulanic acid has been the only approved BLI that is orally bioavailable and making it a mainstay in antimicrobial therapy. However, avibactam has displayed higher coverage than clavulanic acid against beta lactamase enzymes.
Growing rates of multidrug resistance has been posing a global threat and compelling more patients to be administered with intravenous antibiotics pose a higher risk of countering nosocomial infections. To deal with the looming threat of antimicrobial resistance, there has been slow yet significant investments in the form of non-dilutive funds and philanthropic grants. Recently, Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) signed a contract with Locus Biosciences to support late stage clinical trial for their investigational cocktail, designed to treat recurrent urinary tract infection. This acquisition shows promise, as big pharma to ventures into this segment.