HealthDay News — Although there has been progress in the development of new antibacterial drugs, most of the recently approved agents have been modifications of existing chemical classes of antibiotics, according to research published online February 1 in Clinical Infectious Diseases.

George H. Talbot, MD, from Talbot Advisors LLC in Anna Maria, Florida, and colleagues performed a systematic review of the published literature and online clinical trials registry to identify new systematically acting orally and/or intravenously administered antibiotic drug candidates being developed and agents approved since 2012 by the US Food and Drug Administration.

The researchers found that the number of new antibiotics approved for marketing annually reversed its previous decline since the 2013 report. They posited that this reversal was probably due to novel financial incentives and increased regulatory flexibility. Most of the recently approved agents have been modifications of existing chemical classes of antibiotics rather than new chemical classes, although there has been progress in development of new antibacterial drugs targeting infections caused by resistant bacterial pathogens. Larger pharmaceutical companies continue abandoning the field, resulting in financial difficulties for smaller companies.

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“To ensure a robust and renewable pipeline of antimicrobial drugs, the pace of research & development must continue to accelerate to address the need for new systemic antibiotics — especially new systemically available drugs from new chemical classes that function through new targets and new mechanisms and thus avoid existing resistance mechanisms,” the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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