Melinta Theraputics has awarded an Industry Grant to Dr. Gary Fong for his proposal, “Identifying the Need and Potential Role for a Novel Long-Acting Antifungal in a Diverse, Underserved Population , totaling $19,836. Dr. Fong will be working alongside his Co-Principal Investigator Dr. Scott Filler, Professor of Medicine at David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and Academic Chief of Research, Division of Infectious Diseases at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center.

Fungal diseases result in approximately 1.5 million deaths annually. Vulnerable individuals are at higher risk, particularly from serious infections like candidemia caused by resistant Candida species. The increasing prevalence of non-albicans Candida species complicates treatment because of increasing resistance to antifungals. Dr. Fong’s project will investigate the evolution of candidemia and antifungal resistance, particularly on infections stemming from non-albicans Candida species. These species typically have more resistance to oral antifungals, leading to treatments that can add further risks with harmful side effects. This includes outpatient parenteral antimicrobial therapy, which increases the risk of complications unrelated to the initial infection. The use of the novel long-acting echinocandin, rezafungin, may lend a hand in mitigating these risks, reducing hospital stays, and improving outpatient treatment adherence.

The project aims to look at retrospective data to understand what role rezafungin could have played in decreasing healthcare costs and improving patient outcomes in an underserved, vulnerable patient population. Additionally, it will deepen our understanding of the barriers to discharge for patients taking antifungals.