Pharmacodynamics for antifungal drug development: an approach for acceleration, risk minimization and demonstration of causality

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The treatment of invasive fungal diseases constitutes a significant unmet medical need. There are relatively few antifungal agents in clinical development and a paucity of novel targets. Morbidity and mortality remain high and clinical outcomes are compromised by submaximal efficacy, emergence of drug resistance and drug-related toxicity. Thus, new antifungal agents are urgently required. A deep understanding of exposure–response relationships underpins the development of safe and effective clinical regimens of any therapeutic agent. Pharmacokinetics (PK) and pharmacodynamics (PD) is increasingly recognized as a vital tool in the development of new antimicrobial agents and maximizes the probability that the right dose will be studied the first time. There is currently no information or agreement as to what constitutes an adequate PK/PD package for the development of a new antifungal agent. This review provides a summary of the achievements of antifungal PK/PD for the treatment of invasive candidiasis, invasive aspergillosis and cryptococcal meningoencephalitis, and outlines the necessary components of a PK/PD package for a new antifungal agent. Such information is critical for the accelerated and efficient development of new agents and enables improved clinical outcomes to be secured.

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