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Novel antibiotic for UTIs passes first clinical trial

A new antibiotic that represents an entirely novel chemical class has passed it first clinical test. The drug, gepotidacin, cured urinary tract infections (UTIs) so well in two large trials that researchers stopped them early.

Its manufacturer, GSK, says it plans to seek approval of the drug from the US Food and Drug Administration early next year; if it succeeds, gepotidacin will be the first new oral antibiotic for common UTIs in more than 20 years. Gepotidacin inhibits bacterial DNA replication by blocking two essential enzymes, gyrase and topoisomerase IV. This makes it effective against most strains of Escherichia coli, the primary culprit in UTIs, including those resistant to the fluoroquinolones, the current frontline antibiotics. Gepotidacin is also being investigated as a treatment for gonorrhoea. Bacteria would likely need mutations in both targeted enzymes to dodge the drug, raising hopes that resistance won’t develop easily.

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