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an early-phase study of 32 people last September at the Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy in San Francisco. Researchers saw no sign of kidney side effects in a variety of doses when comparing the drug against a placebo. Those results laid the foundation for Achaogen’s more rigorous next step—a mid-stage clinical trial of a high-dose, once-daily, short-term course therapy. That trial, of 225 patients with complicated urinary tract infections, got underway in March and is expected to generate results in about a year, according to this posting on clinicaltrials.gov.
If Achaogen is really successful, its drug could reduce the amount of time people with infections have to stay in the hospital. Maybe patients will have their infections wiped out in 3-5 days, instead of 7-10 days or longer, Judice says.
If the company can deliver a drug like that, it could tap into a variety of niche markets worth $500 million to $1 billion. It might not sound like much if you’re a Big Pharma company with $50 billion in annual revenue like Pfizer, but it’s enough for a small company like Achaogen, with 65 employees, to think big.
And even though that potential has created enough sizzle to secure a whopping $56 million venture round, Judice told me he’s not looking to parlay that enthusiasm into a fast buck.
“We’re really focused on being our own company. We don’t want to sell it. We don’t want to flip it in two years,” Judice says. “We want to be a great company with superb focus. There’s important work to be done here. We drive to work thinking something we do today could save a lot of lives. It makes it easy to get excited.”
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