BACKGROUND Novel therapeutic approaches are critically needed for Staphylococcus aureus bloodstream infections (BSI), particularly for methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA). Exebacase, a first-in-class antistaphylococcal lysin, is a direct lytic agent that is rapidly bacteriolytic, eradicates biofilms, and synergizes with antibiotics. METHODS In this superiority-design study, we randomly assigned 121 patients with S. aureus BSI/endocarditis to receive a single dose of exebacase or placebo. All patients received standard-of-care antibiotics. The primary efficacy endpoint was clinical outcome (responder rate) at Day 14. RESULTS Clinical responder rates at Day 14 were 70.4% and 60.0% in the exebacase + antibiotics and antibiotics alone groups, respectively (difference=10.4, 90% CI [-6.3, 27.2], p-value=0.31), and were 42.8 percentage points higher in the pre-specified exploratory MRSA subgroup (74.1% vs. 31.3%, difference=42.8, 90% CI [14.3, 71.4], ad hoc p value=0.01). Rates of adverse events (AEs) were similar in both groups. No AEs of hypersensitivity to exebacase were reported. Thirty-day all-cause mortality rates were 9.7% and 12.8% in the exebacase + antibiotics and antibiotics alone groups, respectively, with a notable difference in MRSA (3.7% vs. 25.0%, difference= –21.3, 90% CI [-45.1, 2.5], ad hoc p-value=0.06). Among MRSA patients in the United States, median length-of-stay was 4-days shorter and 30-day hospital readmission rates were 48 percentage points lower in the exebacase-treated group compared with antibiotics alone. CONCLUSIONS This study establishes proof-of-concept for exebacase and direct lytic agents as potential therapeutics and supports conduct of a confirmatory study focused on exebacase to treat MRSA BSI.
Vance G. Fowler, Jr., Anita F. Das, Joy Lipka-Diamond, Raymond Schuch, Roger Pomerantz, Luis Jáuregui-Peredo, Adam Bressler, David C. Evans, Gregory J. Moran, Mark E. Rupp, Robert A. Wise, G. Ralph Corey, Marcus Zervos, Pamela S. Douglas, Cara Cassino