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The antibacterial agents currently in clinical development are predominantly derivatives of well-established antibiotic classes and were selected to address the class-specific resistance mechanisms and determinants that were known at the time of their discovery. Many of these agents aim to target the antibiotic-resistant priority pathogens listed by the WHO, including Gram-negative bacteria in the critical priority category, such as carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter, Pseudomonas and Enterobacterales. Although some current compounds in the pipeline have exhibited increased susceptibility rates in surveillance studies that depend on geography, pre-existing cross-resistance both within and across antibacterial classes limits the activity of many of the new agents against the most extensively drug-resistant (XDR) and pan-drug-resistant (PDR) Gram-negative pathogens. In particular, cross-resistance to unrelated classes may occur by co-selection of resistant strains, thus leading to the rapid emergence and subsequent spread of resistance. There is a continued need for innovation and new-class antibacterial agents in order to provide effective therapeutic options against infections specifically caused by XDR and PDR Gram-negative bacteria.

Original publication





Nature reviews. Microbiology

Publication Date





286 - 298


Center for Anti-Infective Agents, Vienna, Austria.


Humans, Acinetobacter, Pseudomonas, Enterobacteriaceae, Enterobacteriaceae Infections, Acinetobacter Infections, Pseudomonas Infections, Anti-Bacterial Agents, Drug Resistance, Bacterial, Drug Development