Date posted: 19 September 2021

The manuscript is entitled “Improved Methods for Assessing Therapeutic Potential of Antifungal Agents Against Dermatophytes and their Application in the Development of NP213, a Novel Onychomycosis Therapy Candidate”.

The manuscript was authored by Derry K. Mercer, Colin S. Stewart, Lorna Miller, Jennifer Robertson, Vanessa M. S. Duncan, Deborah A. O’Neil.

The Abstract reads as follows –

“Onychomycosis is a common, difficult-to-treat nail infection that is mainly caused by dermatophytes. Current therapies are not wholly effective and are associated with manifold side effects. The development of treatments for onychomycosis is challenging because standard in vitro tests are not predictive of antifungal efficacy within the nail. We have developed a new antifungal agent, NP213, for the treatment of onychomycosis. NP213 is based on endogenous host defense peptides produced within the nail. We compared the in vitro activity of NP213 and existing antifungal agents using conventional antimicrobial susceptibility test (AST) systems and more physiologically relevant models based on the human nail. We observed that the standard in vitro AST methodologies failed to predict the efficacy of antifungal agents within the nail. To address that, we present a more physiologically relevant modified AST method. This method, alongside other standard in vitro assessments of activity (including mechanism-of-action and time-of-kill studies), better reflected the activity of NP213 and other antifungal agents within the nail than standard in vitro AST methods. NP213 is a rapidly acting, fungicidal peptide that is superior to existing antifungal agents in vitro. It penetrated the nail more effectively than other antifungals, as confirmed by using an optimized in vitro nail infection model. The data presented here support the current clinical development status of NP213 as a novel agent for treating onychomycosis. We propose that the modified tests developed and applied for NP213 characterization are the most relevant to use for screening any potential therapeutic candidates for onychomycosis”.

Full Text available at ASM Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy Link