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Sanofi, Rib-X ink deal to seek antibiotics for multi-drug resistant pathogens
by Kelsey Kaustinen  |  Email the author


NEW HAVEN, Conn.Rib-X Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Sanofi have announced the signing of an exclusive worldwide research collaboration agreement and option for license for novel classes of antibiotics that result from Rib-X's RX-04 program for treating resistant Gram-positive and Gram-negative pathogens.
Per the terms of the collaboration agreement, Rib-X will receive $10 million from Sanofi in an upfront payment, and is also eligible to receive up to $9 million in near-term research milestones. Rib-X will also be eligible for further payments, based on the achievement of certain research, preclinical, regulatory and commercial milestones. Sanofi will have the right to develop multiple products under the agreement. With the exclusion of the assets licensed to Sanofi through the agreement, Rib-X will retain the rights to the discovery platform as well as its future programs. Rib-X retains a co- promotion option within the United States on one of the molecules resulting from the collaboration, as well. Development and regulatory milestones could result in up to $86 million on a per product basis, while commercial milestones could result in over $100 million on a per product basis. Royalty rates on net sales could reach low double-digit figures.
"We could not be more excited about partnering with a preeminent global pharmaceutical company such as Sanofi," said Mark Leuchtenberger, President and Chief Executive Officer at Rib-X Pharmaceuticals, in a press release regarding the agreement. "This partnership reflects our shared commitment to staying ahead of the growing problem of antibiotic resistance by delivering new standards of care for patients in need."  
The proprietary approach of Rib-X's RX-04 program is one of rational drug design and creates new families of compounds, specifically ones with demonstrated efficacy at low, single doses in murine infection models. The program has demonstrated antibacterial activity against several difficult- to-treat, clinically important, multi-drug resistant Gram-negative and Gram-positive pathogens. Rib-X's RX-04 program specifically targets bacterial ribosomes within the cells, the site of protein synthesis. Recent data confirms that these novel classes of compounds impact ribosome function directly, with their anti-bacterial activity working to interfere with the synthesis of proteins.  
"The RX-04 program's completely novel classes of antibiotics should lead to true breakthrough therapies and we look forward to working in partnership with Sanofi to advance these treatments into the clinic and eventually bring them to the global market. Importantly, this 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," said Leuchtenberger.
Multi-drug resistant bacteria are one of the faster growing crises in public health. Bacteria come in two main classes and are defined by their appearance when they are stained and viewed under a microscope: Gram-negative, which appear pink, and Gram-positive, which look violet blue and generally lack the outer membrane found in Gram-negative bacteria. According to the World Health Organization, at least 25,000 people in the European Union alone die from infections caused by multi-drug resistant bacteria every year.
"We are very enthusiastic about entering into this collaboration with Rib-X," said Elias Zerhouni, M.D., President of Global Research & Development for Sanofi, in a press release about the agreement. "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."
Code: E07061101



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