Rob Neville of Savara Pharmaceuticals discusses his company’s NTM lung infection program.
NTM lung infection is a rare and serious lung disorder associated with increased rates of morbidity and mortality. Nontuberculous mycobacteria are naturally-occurring organisms and NTM lung infection can occur when an individual inhales the organism from their environment and develop a slowly progressive and destructive lung disease. NTM lung infection is typically characterized by cough, fatigue, and weight loss. NTM infections often become chronic and require long courses of multiple antibiotics, and despite the aggressive treatment regimens, treatment failure rates are high, and recurrence of infection common. Chronic NTM lung infection can have a significant impact on quality of life. There are approximately 50,000 to 80,000 individuals affected by NTM lung infection in the U.S, the most common types involving Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC), and Mycobacterium abscessus. There have been few advancements in new systemic treatments for NTM lung infection. However, in a recent Phase 3 clinical trial by Insmed (NASDAQ: INSM), local delivery of an inhaled form of amikacin directly to the lung was shown to be effective in approximately one third of treatment refractory patients with pulmonary MAC infection, suggesting administration of high local concentrations of drug directly at the site of infection provides an attractive new avenue to improve clinical outcomes in this and other difficult to treat chronic lung infections.