Boronates are of growing interest as beta-lactamase inhibitors. The only marketed analogue, vaborbactam, principally targets KPC carbapenemases, but taniborbactam (VNRX-5133, Venatorx) has a broader spectrum.
MICs of cefepime and meropenem were determined combined with taniborbactam or avibactam for carbapenem-resistant UK isolates. beta-Lactamase genes and porin alterations were sought by PCR or sequencing.
Taniborbactam potentiated partner beta-lactams against: (i) Enterobacterales with KPC, other class A, OXA-48-like, VIM and NDM (not IMP) carbapenemases; and (ii) Enterobacterales inferred to have combinations of ESBL or AmpC activity and impermeability. Potentiation of cefepime (the partner for clinical development) by taniborbactam was slightly weaker than by avibactam for Enterobacterales with KPC or OXA-48-like carbapenemases, but MICs of cefepime-taniborbactam were similar to those of ceftazidime/avibactam, and the spectrum was wider. MICs of cefepime-taniborbactam nonetheless remained >8 + 4 mg/L for 22%–32% of NDM-producing Enterobacterales. Correlates of raised cefepime-taniborbactam MICs among these NDM Enterobacterales were a cefepime MIC >128 mg/L, particular STs and, for Escherichia coli only: (i) the particular blaNDM variant (even though published data suggest all variants are inhibited similarly); (ii) inserts in PBP3; and (iii) raised aztreonam-avibactam MICs. Little or no potentiation of cefepime or meropenem was seen for Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Acinetobacter baumannii with MBLs, probably reflecting slower uptake or stronger efflux. Potentiation of cefepime was seen for Stenotrophomonas maltophilia and Elizabethkingia meningoseptica, which have both chromosomal ESBLs and MBLs.
Taniborbactam broadly reversed cefepime or meropenem non-susceptibility in Enterobacterales and, less reliably, in non-fermenters.
Cefepimeitaniborbactam is a cephalosporin/cyclic boronate beta-lactamase inhibitor combination under development for the treatment of infections due to MDR Enterobacterales and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Using a neutropenic murine thigh infection model, we aimed to determine the pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic index, relative to taniborbactam exposure, that correlated most closely with the efficacy of the cefepime-taniborbactam combination and the magnitude of index required for efficacy against serine-beta-lactamase-producing strains.
Twenty-six clinical Enterobacterales (expressing ESBLs, plasmid-mediated AmpC and/or carbapenemases of classes A or D; cefepime/taniborbactam combination MICs 0.06-16 mg/L) and 11 clinical P. aeruginosa (AmpC overproducing or KPC expressing; cefepime-taniborbactam combination MICs 1-16 mg/L) were evaluated. A cefepime human-simulated regimen (HSR) equivalent to a clinical dose of 2 g q8h as a 2 h infusion was given in combination with taniborbactam for 24 h. For a subset of P. aeruginosa isolates, a sub-therapeutic cefepime exposure was utilized.
Dose-fractionation studies revealed that dosing frequency had no impact on taniborbactam potentiation of cefepime activity. Relative to the initial bacterial burden, the median taniborbactam fAUC0-24/MIC associated with 1 log kill in combination with the cefepime HSR for Enterobacterales and P. aeruginosa isolates was 2.62 and 0.46, respectively. In combination with sub-therapeutic cefepime, the median taniborbactam fAUC0-24/MIC associated with 1 and 2 log kill against AmpC-overproducing P. aeruginosa was 2.00 and 3.30, respectively, relative to the bacterial burden in the cefepime-treated groups. The taniborbactam HSR (equivalent to 0.5 g q8h as a 2 h infusion) was adequate to attain ≥1 log reduction against all test isolates.
Our data show that the cefepime-taniborbactam combination (2 g/0.5 g q8h as a 2 h infusion) exerts potent in vivo activity against cefepime-resistant isolates, including serine-carbapenemase producers.
To evaluate in vitro activity of the novel beta-lactamase boronate inhibitor taniborbactam (VNRX-5133) combined with cefepime or meropenem against 500 urinary Gram-negative bacilli.
Cefepime-taniborbactam and 14 comparators were tested by broth microdilution or agar dilution methods. A total of 450 Enterobacteriaceae and 50 Pseudomonas aeruginosa were selected from 2017 to 2019 based on different β-lactamase-producing or resistance phenotypes. For carbapenem-non-susceptible isolates, the modified carbapenem inactivation method (mCIM), EDTA-CIM (eCIM) and amplification of carbapenemase genes were performed. For NDM-producing isolates and those with cefepime-taniborbactam MICs >8 mg/L, the MICs of meropenem-taniborbactam and/or mutations in PBP3 were investigated.
Taniborbactam improved cefepime activity with the same efficiency as avibactam improved ceftazidime activity against 66 KPC-2 producers, 30 non-carbapenemase-producing carbapenem-non-susceptible Enterobacteriaceae and 28 meropenem-susceptible P. aeruginosa. However, cefepime-taniborbactam exhibited more potent activity than ceftazidime-avibactam against 56 ESBL-producing, 61 AmpC-producing, 32 ESBL and AmpC co-producing, 87 NDM-producing and 21 MBL-producing Enterobacteriaceae predicted by phenotypic mCIM and eCIM, 82 Enterobacteriaceae that were susceptible to all tested beta-lactams and 22 carbapenem-non-susceptible P. aeruginosa. A four-amino acid ‘INYR’ or ‘YRIN’ insertion, with or without a one/two-amino acid mutation in PBP3, may have caused cefepime-taniborbactam MICs >8 mg/L among 96.6% (28/29) of the NDM-5-producing Escherichia coli, which accounted for the majority of isolates with cefepime-taniborbactam MICs >8 mg/L (76.1%, 35/46).
Taniborbactam’s superior breadth of activity, when paired with cefepime or meropenem, suggests these beta-lactam/beta-lactamase inhibitor combinations could be promising candidates for treating urinary tract infections caused by ESBL and/or AmpC, KPC or NDM-producing Enterobacteriaceae or P. aeruginosa.
As shifts in the epidemiology of beta-lactamase-mediated resistance continue, carbapenem-resistant Enterobacterales (CRE) and carbapenem-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa (CRPA) are the most urgent threats. Although approved beta-lactam (BL)–beta-lactamase inhibitor (BLI) combinations address widespread serine beta-lactamases (SBLs), such as CTX-M-15, none provide broad coverage against either clinically important serine-beta-lactamases (KPC, OXA-48) or clinically important metallo-beta-lactamases (MBLs; e.g., NDM-1). VNRX-5133 (taniborbactam) is a new cyclic boronate BLI that is in clinical development combined with cefepime for the treatment of infections caused by beta-lactamase-producing CRE and CRPA. Taniborbactam is the first BLI with direct inhibitory activity against Ambler class A, B, C, and D enzymes. From biochemical and structural analyses, taniborbactam exploits substrate mimicry while employing distinct mechanisms to inhibit both SBLs and MBLs. It is a reversible covalent inhibitor of SBLs with slow dissociation and a prolonged active-site residence time (half-life, 30 to 105 min), while in MBLs, it behaves as a competitive inhibitor, with inhibitor constant (Ki) values ranging from 0.019 to 0.081 μM. Inhibition is achieved by mimicking the transition state structure and exploiting interactions with highly conserved active-site residues. In microbiological testing, taniborbactam restored cefepime activity in 33/34 engineered Escherichia coli strains overproducing individual enzymes covering Ambler classes A, B, C, and D, providing up to a 1,024-fold shift in the MIC. Addition of taniborbactam restored the antibacterial activity of cefepime against all 102 Enterobacterales clinical isolates tested and 38/41 P. aeruginosa clinical isolates tested with MIC90s of 1 and 4 μg/ml, respectively, representing ≥256- and ≥32-fold improvements, respectively, in antibacterial activity over that of cefepime alone. The data demonstrate the potent, broad-spectrum rescue of cefepime activity by taniborbactam against clinical isolates of CRE and CRPA.
A major resistance mechanism in Gram-negative bacteria is the production of beta-lactamase enzymes. Originally recognized for their ability to hydrolyze penicillins, emergent beta-lactamases can now confer resistance to other beta-lactam drugs, including both cephalosporins and carbapenems. The emergence and global spread of beta-lactamase-producing multi-drug-resistant “superbugs” has caused increased alarm within the medical community due to the high mortality rate associated with these difficult-to-treat bacterial infections. To address this unmet medical need, we initiated an iterative program combining medicinal chemistry, structural biology, biochemical testing, and microbiological profiling to identify broad-spectrum inhibitors of both serine- and metallo-beta-lactamase enzymes. Lead optimization, beginning with narrower-spectrum, weakly active compounds, provided (VNRX-5133, taniborbactam), a boronic-acid-containing pan-spectrum beta-lactamase inhibitor. In vitro and in vivo studies demonstrated that restored the activity of beta-lactam antibiotics against carbapenem-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa and carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae. Taniborbactam is the first pan-spectrum β-lactamase inhibitor to enter clinical development.
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