New and improved? A review of novel antibiotics for Gram-positive bacteria

Clin Microbiol Infect. 2017 Oct;23(10):697-703. doi: 10.1016/j.cmi.2017.06.010. Epub 2017 Jun 19.


Background: The number of antibiotics in the pipeline targeting Gram-positive pathogens has increased in recent years.

Aims: This narrative review aims to provide a summary of existing evidence on efficacy, microbiological spectrum and safety of novel systemic antibiotics that have either recently been licensed or completed phase III trials, and possess activity predominantly against Gram-positive organisms.

Sources: A review of the published literature via the MEDLINE database was performed. In addition, ongoing trials were identified through a search of the clinical trial registration platform, and when necessary, pharmaceutical companies responsible for the development of the drug were contacted for further information.

Content: Data on development, microbiological spectrum, pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic properties, clinical efficacy, safety and cost are presented for the new cephalosporins ceftaroline and ceftobiprole; the lipoglycopeptides dalbavancin, oritavancin and telavancin; the fluoroquinolones delafloxacin, nemonoxacin and zabofloxacin; the dihydrofolate-reductase inhibitor iclaprim; the pleuromutilin lefamulin; and the tetracycline omadacycline.

Implications: Although promising, these new antibiotics have so far been tested in non-severe infections whose treatment is generally uncomplicated and whose aetiologies were not predominantly multidrug-resistant pathogens. None of the new antibiotics have shown superiority to standard care, and none have been investigated for patient-relevant outcomes. Safety and pharmacokinetic data continue to be lacking. How these new drugs are to be integrated into the current armamentarium remains to be established.

Keywords: Antibiotics; Community-acquired pneumonia; Gram-positive bacteria; Healthcare-associated pneumonia; Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus; Novel antimicrobials; Skin and soft-tissue infections; Vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / adverse effects
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / isolation & purification*
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Clinical Trials, Phase III as Topic
  • Drug Approval
  • Gram-Positive Bacteria / drug effects*
  • Gram-Positive Bacterial Infections / drug therapy*
  • Humans


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents