[Ed. Note: Dr. KSS writes about medicine and biotech stocks for the Irregulars. He chooses his own topics, and his words and opinions are his own. He has agreed to our trading restrictions.]
If you get infected with CRE in your blood, your lungs, your urine, or your biliary system, what is your chance of dying from that regardless of what doctors do?
(a) 15 percent
(b) 30 percent
(c) 50 percent
(d) 85 percent
Which of the following statements about drugs to treat CRE is true:
(a) antibiotics not approved in the US by the FDA are rather effective against it
(b) no antibiotic has definitive activity against CRE
(c) although CRE resists carbapenems, massive doses of carbapenem still kill CRE
(d) an antibiotic called colistin has some activity against CRE, but has profound side effects and many patients are too enfeebled to withstand these
(e) b and d are correct
Many irregulars, including me, have long positions in shares of Achaogen ($AKAO), a South San Francisco biotechnology firm that debuted in Stock Gumshoe in a column on investing in the antibiotics space. I strive to keep Irregulars updated as regards stocks of group interest, and a material, potentially price-sensitive event has emerged regarding $AKAO that you should know about. This is also a good occasion to revisit clinical and scientific issues related to $AKAO.
Achaogen’s lead drug candidate is plazomicin, a next-generation aminoglycoside antibiotic being phase 3 trialled for patients with carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE). CRE played a major role in the death of an Irregular’s family member recently.
What you need to know about CRE:
(1) these are Gram-negative organisms from the intestine. This is a broad family of bacteria that are not pathogenic in the GI tract, but potentially lethal when found in urine, lung, blood, or bile. The bacterial contents of feces are amazing in that they are totally safe and beneficial when confined to one side of the gut wall. Resuspend the quantity of feces you could place on a toothpick in 10 cc of sterile water, inject that iv, and watch death occur quickly.
(2) Carbapenems are admired, potent, dependable antibiotics in the beta-lactam class. Other kinds of beta-lactams include penicillins, cephalosporins and monobactams. Carbapenems include imipenem, doripenem and (my favorite) meropenem.
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