Public Release: 

Achaogen provides data to SPARK, Pew's platform for antibiotic discovery research

Information from discontinued program will aid in search for urgently needed new antibiotics

Pew Charitable Trusts

WASHINGTON--Biopharmaceutical company Achaogen and The Pew Charitable Trusts announced a groundbreaking agreement today to share data from Achaogen's discontinued LpxC inhibitor antibiotic research program on Pew's open-access Shared Platform for Antibiotic Research and Knowledge (SPARK). Providing such data from a private sector biopharmaceutical company for use by scientists around the world free of charge is a significant step forward in the fight against drug-resistant superbugs.

Pew launched SPARK in September to help spur basic research into the scientific barriers to the discovery of new types of antibiotics. Achaogen is sharing data from its LpxC inhibitor program, which explored a new way to attack some of the most dangerous superbugs--Gram-negative bacteria--but was discontinued in 2017 due to unexpected toxicity findings. The agreement was facilitated by CARB-X, a nonprofit public-private partnership dedicated to accelerating antibacterial research, which helped fund Achaogen's LpxC program.

"By sharing these data with the wider scientific community, Achaogen has demonstrated true leadership, which we hope can become a model for other companies," said Allan Coukell, Pew's senior director of health programs. "This move will help create a scientific resource that can benefit any researcher or organization working to find new antibiotics."

SPARK is part of Pew's ongoing work to advance the goals set forth in its Scientific Roadmap for Antibiotic Discovery, bringing together chemical and biological data from published studies and previously unpublished work, such as the Achaogen data, on a user-friendly, cloud-based platform. Open to interested researchers from all sectors--industry, academia, government, and nonprofit--SPARK enables scientists to share information, learn from past research, and generate new insights. The platform is focused on how molecules can effectively overcome the tough defenses of Gram-negative bacteria, a type of dangerous, highly resistant pathogen that is difficult to treat.

"Sharing our data with SPARK is part of Achaogen's ongoing commitment to address the antibiotic resistance crisis," said Blake Wise, CEO of Achaogen. "Even though our LpxC program has ended, the data remain valuable, and we hope that our research will help SPARK users contribute to the discovery of novel antibiotics that can treat Gram-negative infections."

Novel drugs, those with new molecular structures that operate differently from existing antibiotics, are needed to overcome resistance in Gram-negative bacteria, yet there are far too few such products in development. Pew's most recent analysis of the antibiotic pipeline shows that of the 17 antibiotics in development that are potentially active against infections caused by Gram-negative pathogens, only one represents a novel drug class. Historical data show that only about 1 in 5 infectious disease drugs in development will ultimately receive approval from the Food and Drug Administration and reach patients.

"Given the serious scientific and economic barriers to finding urgently needed new antibiotics, it's critical that the antibiotic research community share as much information as possible--not just the successes but also the setbacks," said Kevin Outterson, executive director of CARB-X. "In the past, the data and knowledge gained from an antibiotic research project would be locked away once the project ended, which resulted in other scientists reinventing the wheel and wasting precious time and resources."

"It's extremely heartening and inspiring to see Achaogen break the mold by sharing its data with SPARK," added Outterson. "I hope that other CARB-X-funded research programs and others around the world will seriously consider doing the same."


The Pew Charitable Trusts is driven by the power of knowledge to solve today's most challenging problems. Learn more at

Interested researchers can request access to SPARK using this simple online form. An introductory webinar will be offered for all new users Tuesday, Oct. 23.

Data provided to SPARK is managed by The Pew Charitable Trusts, an independent nonprofit organization. The intent is for all data shared with Pew to be made publicly available. If you have suggestions on data that should be included in SPARK, or are a researcher interested in donating your data to the platform, contact us at

Achaogen is a biopharmaceutical company committed to the discovery, development, and commercialization of innovative antibacterial treatments for multidrug-resistant Gram-negative infections. One of these products was recently approved by FDA for the treatment of adults with complicated urinary tract infections, including pyelonephritis, and funded in part with federal funds from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority. Learn more at

Achaogen is providing data from its LpxC program to SPARK. These data were supported in part by federal funding from the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, Department of Defense, under Contract No. HDTRA107C0079; Military Medical Research and Development Program, Defense Health Program, Department of Defense, under Grant No. W81XWH1220040; and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, under Contract No. HHSN272201500009C.

Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.