(Reuters) – GlaxoSmithKline Plc said on Monday it has begun a late-stage study testing its experimental antibiotic in patients with urinary tract infections and gonorrhoea, a type of sexually transmitted infection.

The antibiotic, gepotidacin, is the first of a new class of drugs and is expected to treat two common bacterial infections, which have been identified as antibiotic resistant threats by U.S. health regulators.

Health officials across the world have called for the development of newer versions of antibiotics as the growing problem of antibiotic resistance renders some of the most commonly prescribed treatments ineffective.

GSK’s antibiotic will be compared to a combination of ceftriaxone and azithromycin in about 600 patients with urogential gonorrhoea, and against nitrofurantoin in nearly 1,200 women with urinary tract infections. (https://bit.ly/32RNPKN) Gepotidacin works by selectively interacting with two bacterial enzymes that aid in bacterial replication, making its mechanism of action different from other approved antibiotics, the company said.

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GSK expects to announce initial results from the study by the end of 2021.

(Reporting by Saumya Sibi Joseph in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli)