NEW HAVEN, Conn.—Rib-X Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Sanofi haveannounced the signing of an exclusive worldwide research collaborationagreement and option for license for novel classes of antibiotics that resultfrom Rib-X's RX-04 program for treating resistant Gram-positive andGram-negative pathogens.
Per the terms of the collaboration agreement, Rib-X willreceive $10 million from Sanofi in an upfront payment, and is also eligible toreceive up to $9 million in near-term research milestones. Rib-X will also beeligible for further payments, based on the achievement of certain research,preclinical, regulatory and commercial milestones. Sanofi will have the rightto develop multiple products under the agreement. With the exclusion of theassets licensed to Sanofi through the agreement, Rib-X will retain the rightsto the discovery platform as well as its future programs. Rib-X retains aco-promotion option within the United States on one of the molecules resultingfrom the collaboration, as well. Development and regulatory milestones couldresult in up to $86 million on a per product basis, while commercial milestonescould result in over $100 million on a per product basis. Royalty rates on netsales could reach low double-digit figures.
"We could not be more excited about partnering with apreeminent global pharmaceutical company such as Sanofi," said MarkLeuchtenberger, President and Chief Executive Officer at Rib-X Pharmaceuticals,in a press release regarding the agreement. "This partnership reflects ourshared commitment to staying ahead of the growing problem of antibioticresistance by delivering new standards of care for patients in need."
The proprietary approach of Rib-X's RX-04 program is one ofrational drug design and creates new families of compounds, specifically oneswith demonstrated efficacy at low, single doses in murine infection models. Theprogram has demonstrated antibacterial activity against severaldifficult-to-treat, clinically important, multi-drug resistant Gram-negativeand Gram-positive pathogens. Rib-X's RX-04 program specifically targetsbacterial ribosomes within the cells, the site of protein synthesis. Recentdata confirms that these novel classes of compounds impact ribosome functiondirectly, with their anti-bacterial activity working to interfere with thesynthesis of proteins.
"The RX-04 program's completely novel classes of antibioticsshould lead to true breakthrough therapies and we look forward to working inpartnership with Sanofi to advance these treatments into the clinic andeventually bring them to the global market. Importantly, this agreement willenable Rib-X to aggressively advance our clinical stage candidates,delafloxacin and radezolid, towards pivotal trials and support additionaldiscovery-stage programs like RX-05 and RX-06," said Leuchtenberger.
Multi-drug resistant bacteria are one of the faster growingcrises in public health. Bacteria come in two main classes and are defined bytheir appearance when they are stained and viewed under a microscope: Gram-negative,which appear pink, and Gram-positive, which look violet blue and generally lackthe outer membrane found in Gram-negative bacteria. According to the WorldHealth Organization, at least 25,000 people in the European Union alone diefrom infections caused by multi-drug resistant bacteria every year.
"We are very enthusiastic about entering into thiscollaboration with Rib-X," said Elias Zerhouni, M.D., President of GlobalResearch & Development for Sanofi, in a press release about the agreement."The clinical need for new antibiotics is reaching crisis level, yet theantibiotic pipeline is running dry and fewer and fewer companies are working todevelop drugs in this space. This partnership exemplifies Sanofi's commitmentto translate novel approaches for treatment into patient solutions addressingthe global critical need to combat the rising threat of antibiotic drugresistance."