A new class of antifungal compounds
The standard of care available to patients suffering from fungal diseases has not changed in over 50 years while antifungal resistance has risen, and as a result an estimated 1.5 millions deaths are attributed to fungal disease each year. Fungal infections acquired in healthcare settings are estimated to result in an additional 3 to 13 days of hospitalization and $6,000 to $29,000 in healthcare costs. To date, only four classes of antifungal drugs exist for treating systemic fungal infections, leading to few treatment options available for those infections that prove to be multidrug-resistant. There is an urgent need for new classes of antifungal drugs.
Researchers at Duke have turned to an FDA-approved immunosuppressant to establish a new class of antifungal agents. While the immunosuppressive effects of this parent compound would prevent its use as a safe antifungal, the inventors have found that by making small changes to create a drug analog, they could greatly reduce the dangerous immunosuppressive activity while maintaining activity as a therapeutically-useful antifungal. This new analog has been demonstrated to treat fungal infections safely in a mouse model of systemic Cryptococcus infection.
- A new class of antifungal has been demonstrated
- The analog (APX879) can be easily prepared in one step from the commercially-available parent compound (FK506)
- Parent compound is FDA-approved for other indications