In a July 20 research note, analyst David Sherman with LifeSci Capital reported that Achaogen Inc. (AKAO:NASDAQ) launched Zemdri (plazomicin) in the United States for treatment of complicated urinary tract infections (cUTI), including pyelonephritis.
Sherman provided the following reasons for why plazomicin could be well received by the health care industry.
1. The timing of the drug hitting the market is favorable. Existing treatments for cUTI have become less effective due to the continuing rise of pathogens becoming drug-resistant, which is a mounting concern. This has increased costs for hospitals and payers. It has led physicians to more often rely on prescribing colistin, "an antibiotic with serious toxicity and tolerability concerns," and carbapenems, "which are becoming less effective due to increasing rates of resistance," described Sherman.
With plazomicin, doctors now have a new treatment option for patients with a suspected or proven multidrug-resistant cUTI. Sherman explained that "this is a meaningful improvement for the field, due to the drug's ability to overcome aminoglycoside-modifying enzymes as well as its activity against extended spectrum beta lactamase-producing bacteria and carbapenem-resistant pathogens."
2. Opportunities exist for plazomicin to be used off label. Physicians likely will use the drug for life-threatening bloodstream infections, given the unmet need due to the paucity of safe, effective options and given the antibiotic's "strong microbiological data," Sherman noted. Because of the serious nature of these infections, chances are low of formularies disallowing and not paying for the use of plazomicin in this way.
3. The formulation and drug delivery of plazomicin, once daily for 30 minutes intravenously, could allow for it to be administered on an outpatient basis. This means patients could be discharged from the hospital earlier, thereby reducing costs.
4. Achaogen's support to hospitals surrounding plazomicin could lead them to quickly include it in their formularies. The company will help facilities set up "susceptibility testing and therapeutic drug monitoring assays for plazomicin," Sherman wrote. Additionally, it will "inform them of plazomicin's profile, aid in building the infrastructure to support plazomicin use and provide reimbursement support across multiple settings of care." All of these efforts should ultimately help drive sales.
About plazomicin, Sherman concluded, "We expect broad inclusion on hospital formularies and anticipate extensive off-label use, given the pressing unmet needs in treating carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae and other serious multi-drug resistant infections."
LifeSci Capital does not have a rating or target price on Achaogen. The company's current share price is $7.33.[NLINSERT]
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Disclosures from LifeSci Capital, Achaogen, July 20, 2018
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