MK7655 is a newly developed beta-lactamase inhibitor of class A and class C carbapenemases. Pharmacokinetics (PK) of imipenem-cilastatin (IMP/C) and MK7655 were determined for intraperitoneal doses of 4 mg/kg to 128 mg/kg of body weight. MIC and pharmacodynamics (PD) studies of MK7655 were performed against several beta-lactamase producing Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Klebsiella pneumoniae strains to determine its effect in vitro and in vivo. Neutropenic mice were infected in each thigh 2 h before treatment with an inoculum of approximately 5 x 10(6) CFU. They were treated with IMP/C alone (every 2 hours [q2h], various doses) or in combination with MK7655 in either a dose fractionation study or q2h for 24 h and sacrificed for CFU determinations. IMP/MK7655 decreased MICs regarding IMP MIC. The PK profiles of IMP/C and MK7655 were linear over the dosing range studied and comparable with volumes of distribution (V) of 0.434 and 0.544 liter/kg and half-lives (t(1/2)) of 0.24 and 0.25 h, respectively. Protein binding of MK7655 was 20%. A sigmoidal maximum effect (E-max) model was fit to the PK/PD index responses. The effect of the inhibitor was not related to the maximum concentration of drug in serum (C-max)/MIC, and model fits for T->MIC and area under the concentration-time curve (AUC)/MIC were comparable (R-2 of 0.7 and 0.75), but there appeared to be no significant relationship of effect with dose frequency. Escalating doses of MK7655 and IMP/C showed that the AUC of MK7655 required for a static effect was dependent on the dose of IMP/C and the MIC of the strain, with a mean area under the concentration-time curve for the free, unbound fraction of the drug (fAUC) of 26.0 mg (.) h/liter. MK7655 shows significant activity in vivo and results in efficacy of IMP/C in otherwise resistant strains. The exposure-response relationships found can serve as a basis for establishing dosing regimens in humans.