Sanofi and Rib-X sign antibiotics agreement

Novel technology targets bacterial ribosomes to create new classes of antibiotics

French pharmaceutical firm Sanofi has linked up with Rib-X Pharmaceuticals of the US to develop new types of antibiotics.

The two companies have signed a deal to licence antibiotics resulting from Rib-X’s RX-04 programme for the treatment of resistant Gram-positive and resistant Gram-negative pathogens.

Rib-X’s programme has produced new families of compounds that have demonstrated efficacy at low, single doses in murine infection models, Sanofi said.

Under the terms of the agreement, Rib-X will receive an upfront payment of US$10m and is eligible to receive up to an additional US$9m in near-term research-based milestones and further payments if research, preclinical, regulatory and commercial milestones are reached. Sanofi has the right to develop multiple products under this agreement.

The agreement could result in up to US$86m in development and regulatory milestones, while commercial milestones could exceed US$100m for each drug. Royalties on net sales could reach low double-digit figures, Sanofi said.

Elias Zerhouni, Sanofi’s president, of global research & development, said: ‘The clinical need for new antibiotics is reaching crisis level, yet the antibiotic pipeline is running dry and fewer and fewer companies are working to develop drugs in this space.

‘This partnership exemplifies Sanofi’s commitment to translate novel approaches for treatment into patient solutions addressing the global critical need to combat the rising threat of antibiotic drug resistance.’

Mark Leuchtenberger, president and chief executive at Rib-X Pharmaceuticals, added: ‘The RX-04 programme’s completely novel classes of antibiotics should lead to true breakthrough therapies.’

He added that the agreement will enable Rib-X to ‘aggressively advance our clinical stage candidates, delafloxacin and radezolid, towards pivotal trials and support additional discovery-stage programs like RX-05 and RX-06.’

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