Pharmacodynamics of isavuconazole in experimental invasive pulmonary aspergillosis: implications for clinical breakpoints

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Abstract

Objectives

Isavuconazole, a novel triazole antifungal agent, has broad-spectrum activity against Aspergillus spp. and other pathogenic fungi. The isavuconazole exposure–response relationship in experimental invasive pulmonary aspergillosis using galactomannan index (GMI) suppression as a marker of disease clearance was explored.

Methods

The impact of exposure on GMI suppression in persistently neutropenic rabbits treated with isavuconazonium sulphate (isavuconazole-equivalent dosages of 20, 40 or 60 mg/kg every 24 h, after a 90 mg/kg loading dose) for 12 days was linked using mathematical modelling. Bridging to humans using population pharmacokinetic (PK) data from a clinical trial in invasive aspergillosis was performed using Monte Carlo simulations.

Results

Mean plasma isavuconazole AUC/MIC (EC50) of 79.65 (95% CI 32.2, 127.1) produced a half-maximal effect in GMI suppression. The inhibitory sigmoid Emax curve dropped sharply after an AUC/MIC of ≥30 and was near maximum (EC80) at ∼130. Bridging the experimental PK/pharmacodynamic (PD) target to human population PK data was then used to return to the rabbit model to determine a clinically relevant PD endpoint. The clinical dosing regimen used in the trial would result in a mean GMI of 4.3 ± 1.8, which is a 50% reduction from the starting GMI in the experiment.

Conclusions

The clinical trial results showing the non-inferiority of isavuconazole to voriconazole for all-cause mortality further support the PK-PD endpoint, thereby demonstrating the usefulness of the rabbit model and endpoint for isavuconazole and implications on interpretive breakpoints. Importantly, the analysis supports this model as an important tool for development of antifungal agents.

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