Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Astellas unveils a second generation echinocandin antifungal

At ICAAC  in San Francisco, Dr Souichirou Akamatsu from Astellas summarised the latest data on a second generation echinocandin called ASP9726. The potency of ASP9726 was slightly more than that of first generation echincandin antifungals micafungin and caspofungin in the lab, even when combined with serum. Direct observation of how Aspergillus grows showed marked prevention of filamentous growth compared with the first generation echinocandins. In experimentally infected mice, guinea pigs and rabbits with invasive aspergillosis, ASP9726 greatly improved survival. ASP9726 was also effective against common Candida species and greatly increased survival in a Candida glabrata model, using an isolate resistant to caspofungin. 

The echinocandins are now the leading IV antifungal class in critically ill patients worldwide for treatment of both Candida and Aspergillus infections. Worldwide sales exceed $1,300 million annually and given the only modest efficacy for aspergillosis and resistance emergence in Candida -  are strong arguments for developing  improved echinocandin compounds.
Of the echinocandin family,  Astellas have discovered and developed micafungin, Merck markets caspofungin and Pfizer  has acquired anidulafungin which was originally developed by Lilly.

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