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A Promising Antibiotic for a Deadly Infection Is Sending Paratek Pharma’s Stock Soaring

A silver foil strip with white medicine tablets, displayedA silver foil strip with white medicine tablets, displayed
There's a strong need for new antibiotics.Photograph by Frank Bienewald LightRocket via Getty Images

Paratek Pharmaceuticals is on a roll.

The Boston-based drug maker saw shares fly as much as 31% in Tuesday trading after unveiling promising clinical trial results for an experimental antibiotic. This is the second late-stage study success for the treatment, omadacycline, and will help the firm hit its goal of filing marketing approval in both the U.S. and Europe next year. And it comes just one week after a collaboration with drug giant Allergan (AGN) produced some impressive data for an acne drug candidate.

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Omadacycline is being tested in patients who have pneumonia acquired in a hospital, as well as those with acute bacterial skin and skin structure infections (ABSSSI). The latest trial results center on the pneumonia patients; with these patients, omadacycline has now been proven to be about as effective as a similar existing therapy called moxifloxacin three to five days after they begin treatment.

Further out—five to ten days after treatment has stopped—the drug actually showed a stronger response rate in trial participants, and with a lower risk of side effects.

Antibiotic development has become increasingly critical as drug-resistant bacteria continue to rise. Last year, a woman in Nevada died from a hospital-acquired infection (contracted in India) even after being treated with every single available antibiotic in the U.S.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recently released a list of the superbugs that drug developers and academic institutes should focus on, since they pose the greatest threats to humanity.