LpxC, a zinc hydrolase, is an attractive and highly sought-after antibiotic target – it is conserved across Gram-negative bacteria and not found in Gram-positive bacteria or human cells. Inhibiting LpxC results in potent killing of Gram-negative bacteria with the benefit of sparing Gram-positive bacteria such as those residing in the protective microbiome of the gut which help to deter opportunistic C. difficile infections.
Other LpxC inhibitors have been evaluated by biopharma in the past but chemistry limitations (e.g.hydroxamic acid) have yielded ineffective compounds that suffer from poor drug-like properties. Thus, there are no approved therapeutics targeting LpxC. Blacksmith, using its proprietary chemistry platform, has developed novel non-hydroxamate inhibitors of LpxC that are safe and effective in animal models of Gram-negative infection and are able to kill Gram-negative ‘superbugs’ where other antibiotics are ineffective.