Achaogen, Inc.

Stock Exchange: XNAS Ticker: AKAO HQ: South San Francisco, CA, USA Employees: 106 Signatory to Davos Decl: Yes Signatory to Industry Roadmap: No
Performance by research area
How Achaogen, Inc. was evaluated
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Applicable indicator Not applicable


Achaogen is a biopharmaceutical company, selected for having a pipeline that targets priority pathogens. It was evaluated in the area of Research & Development only. The company’s R&D investment in antibiotic drug development in 2016 amounts to USD 74 million, which is high compared to other biopharmaceutical companies in the Benchmark. Achaogen is a mid-performing company compared to the biopharmaceutical companies in scope. It has four projects in its antimicrobial R&D pipeline, all targeting priority pathogens. The company engages in numerous public- private partnerships and agreements with various organisations to develop its antibiotic candidates. Achaogen has one R&D project in late-stage clinical development. It reported no information about whether this project is supported by access or stewardship provisions.


Achaogen, founded in 2002, is a biopharmaceutical company focusing on the development of antibiotics to treat multidrug-resistant gram-negative bacterial infections. The company’s most advanced drug candidate, plazomicin, is currently awaiting FDA approval following the completion of two successful Phase III trials: one in bloodstream infections caused by carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) and the other in complicated urinary tract infection and acute pyelonephritis. The company has a collaboration with Thermo Fisher Scientific, Inc. to develop and commercialise an assay to measure plazomicin levels in the blood, in order to ensure safe and effective dosing during treatment. Achaogen has no products on the market. To date, it has received financial support from various funders for the development of its pipeline, including BARDA, the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), CARB-X and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. It was listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange in 2014, having raised approximately USD 72 million from shareholders such as Domain Partners, Venrock, Wellcome Trust and ARCH Venture Partners, among others. In 2016, it raised USD 25 million from a private placement (led by New Enterprise Associates).

Antimicrobial Portfolio

Achaogen does not have any products on the market.


Plan ahead for access and stewardship during R&D. Achaogen is developing one antibiotic candidate (plazomicin) in late-stage clinical development. Achaogen can ensure access and stewardship provisions are in place for plazomicin (e.g., through partnerships).

A. Research & Development

Indicators scored on
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Antimicrobial pipeline
4 projects, 4 target priority pathogens

A.2.1-2.2 Four R&D projects that target priority pathogens.  

Biopharmaceutical companies in scope were selected based on their pipelines that target priority bacteria. Achaogen invested USD 74 million in antibiotic drug development in 2016. The company is developing four projects that target gram-negative bacteria. Three of these projects involve the development of new drug candidates, while the remaining R&D project is an adaptation. Plazomicin, currently awaiting FDA approval, is Achaogen’s most advanced candidate. Plazomicin is an aminoglycoside with activity against carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, but is vulnerable to cross-resistance with other aminoglycosides such as gentamicin and amikacin. The two other R&D projects are candidates in preclinical stage and both target multidrug-resistant gram-negative bacteria: one investigates LpxC inhibitor compounds and the other monoclonal antibodies. The company is also developing C-Scape, a combination of a β-lactam and β-lactamase inhibitor, both already on the market and off-patent.

A.3 Three R&D projects being developed with public partners. 

Achaogen is developing two R&D projects in its priority pathogen pipeline through public-private partnership. It has funding agreements with four public partners for the development of three R&D projects in its priority pathogen pipeline. It has received financial support from BARDA for the development of plazomicin (≤USD 123.8 million). The company also has a contract for ≤USD 5 million with the NIAID and recently received a CARB-X award to support its LpxC inhibitor programme for the treatment of bacterial infections, currently in preclinical stage. Furthermore, in May 2017, the company announced it would receive ≤USD 10.5 million in grant funding (along with a USD 10 million equity investment) from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to further its preclinical R&D research on antibody candidates against gram-negative bacteria, including those that cause neonatal sepsis. Achaogen has also received BARDA funding for the development of C-Scape (≤USD 18 million).

A.4 No information on access or stewardship provisions. 

Achaogen reports no information on access or stewardship provisions for its antibiotic candidate in late-stage development. It has signed the Davos Declaration, which includes a general commitment to ensuring access to antimicrobial medicines and vaccines, and to support the appropriate and responsible use of these products.

Pipeline targeting priority pathogens


B. Manufacturing & Production

As a biopharmaceutical company with no products on the market, Achaogen was not eligible for this Research Area.

C. Appropriate Access & Stewardship

As a biopharmaceutical company with no products on the market, Achaogen was not eligible for this Research Area.

Animal Health & Diagnostics

Activities in this area are not scored by the Benchmark. This information is provided given the importance of animal health and diagnostics on the topic of AMR.

Achaogen is developing a diagnostic assay for therapeutic drug management of plazomicin in a partnership with Thermo Fisher Scientific. This diagnostic platform monitors the levels of plazomicin in the blood in order to ensure safe and effective dosing during treatment.

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