Polymyxins (Polymyxin B, Colistin) are a class of peptide-derived antibiotics which currently have an important role as a last resort treatment for multidrug-resistant Gram-negative infections. Colistin is also used by inhalation as a treatment for pseudomonas infections in cystic fibrosis sufferers.

Polymyxins are the only established antibiotic class which retains consistent activity against carbapenem-resistant enterobacteriaceae (CRE), MDR-Pseudomonas aeruginosa and MDR-Acinetobacter baumannii.

Unfortunately the class is associated with a number of toxicities of which renal toxicity is dose limiting. The result is that dosing is limited to levels which give inadequate exposure for efficacy in many patients.

Resistance can also develop during monotherapy leading to treatment failures.

Cantab is addressing these challenges to develop next generation polymyxins with:

  • Improved activity and efficacy
  • Reduced toxicity, especially renal toxicity
  • Improved activity against strains with reduced susceptibility to current polymyxins