New research by investigators in Ghent, Belgium shows that intravenous treatment with MK-3402, a metallo-beta-lactamase inhibitor, can be an effective strategy in fighting antimicrobial resistance.


The findings are presented at ASM Microbe 2023, the annual meeting of the American Society for Microbiology.

Some bacteria are resistant to treatment because they produce the enzyme metallo-beta-lactamase, which makes a certain class of antibacterial drugs called beta-lactams ineffective.

MK-3402 is designed to block metallo-beta-lactamase enzymes, so that if it is administered as treatment with an antibacterial drug (and another type of blocking drug against other types of beta-lactamase enzymes made by bacteria), the antibacterial drug will still be able to work against bacteria that are otherwise resistant.

Studies with placebo

Two studies were done with MK-3402 and a placebo, with different dosages and number of doses given between the studies. Neither the participants nor the study staff knew which participants were receiving the study drug or placebo. Safety was monitored by checking results of blood tests, electrocardiograms, blood pressure, heart rate, temperature, breathing rate and participant-reported side effects.

The blood levels of MK-3402 measured in these studies suggest that dosing three times per day should provide adequate MK-3402 blood levels to block bacterial metallo-beta-lactamase. However, larger studies are required to evaluate the safety and efficacy of MK-3402 in combination with other antibacterial agents.

The studies were funded, designed, and sponsored by Merck, and took place at Drug Research Unit Ghent, a clinical trial site in Belgium.