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Roche Acquires Rights to “Superbug” Antibiotic

By BiotechDaily International staff writers
Posted on 11 Nov 2013
Roche Holding (Basel, Switzerland) has agreed to pay as much as CHF 500 million (USD 548 million) to Polyphor (Allschwil, Switzerland) for the rights to an experimental antibiotic that targets drug-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

Under the terms of the agreement, Roche has received an exclusive worldwide license agreement to develop and commercialize Polyphor’s investigational macrocycle antibiotic, POL7080, for patients suffering from bacterial infections caused by Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Roche will make an upfront payment of CHF 35 million to Polyphor as well as payments upon reaching certain development, regulatory, and commercial milestones, potentially paying up to CHF 465 million. In addition, Polyphor is entitled to receive tiered double-digit royalties on product sales. Polyphor will also retain the option to co-promote an inhaled formulation of POL7080 in Europe.

Macrocycles are a unique drug class, typically with a molecular weight (Mw) of 400-2,000 and chemically defined by a ring structure, offering a promising alternative to small molecules and biopharmaceuticals due to their size, structure, stability, and specificity. While traditional small molecule drugs address only a fraction of the therapeutically relevant targets, it is believed that many of the new targets involve large surface protein-protein interactions (PPI). Polyphor’s technologies were specifically developed for discovering potent and selective modulators of PPI that cover an alternative molecular diversity space.

“As part of our infectious diseases research strategy we focus on areas of high unmet medical need, where we feel we can make the most difference for patients. We are excited to partner with Polyphor as we build a portfolio of novel antibiotics,” said Janet Hammond, head of Infectious Diseases Discovery & Translational Area at Roche. “As the incidence of drug-resistant infections is creating an urgent demand for new therapeutic options, we look forward to adding this potentially important, targeted agent with a novel mechanism of action to our portfolio of innovative medicines.”

“We are delighted about this license agreement. Roche is an ideal partner for POL7080, due to its long history of antibiotics development coupled with its strong scientific, clinical, and commercial capabilities,” said Jean-Pierre Obrecht, CEO and cofounder of Polyphor. “This agreement is also an important milestone for Polyphor, as it is a further validation of our macrocycle technologies and rewards more than 10 years of research and development efforts.”

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