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Sanofi, Rib-X to Collaborate on New Types of Antibiotics

MRSA bacteria (CDC)

Scanning electron micrograph image of MRSA bacteria (Janice Haney Carr, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

The global pharmaceutical firm Sanofi has agreed to jointly develop new antibiotic technology with the biotechnology company Rib-X Pharmaceuticals in New Haven, Connecticut. The agreement includes an option for Sanofi to license the technology from Rib-X that treats resistant pathogens.

Rib-X’s RX-04 program is developing new types of antibiotics aimed at drug-resistant pathogens, which the company says has been shown effective in animal models. RX-04 targets bacterial ribosomes, an internal cell component that synthesizes proteins from amino acids and RNA. Rib-X says recent data confirm that this approach directly impacts ribosome functions by interfering with protein synthesis.

Under the agreement, Rib-X will receive $10 million in an upfront payment, as well as up to an additional $9 million in near-term research-based milestones. The company will also be eligible for further payments for the achievement of research, preclinical, regulatory and commercial milestones. The agreement could result in up to $86 million in development and regulatory milestones, with commercial milestones exceeding $100 million.

Sanofi will be able to develop multiple products under this agreement. Except for those assets licensed to Sanofi through the agreement, Rib-X retains its rights to the platform that developed its technology and its future programs. Rib-X retains a co-promotion option in the United States on one of the molecules coming from the collaboration.

The Centers for Disease Control notes that people infected with drug-resistant organisms are more likely to have longer and more expensive hospital stays, and may be more likely to die as a result of the infection. When the drug of choice for treating their infection fails to work, they require treatment with second- or third-choice drugs that may be less effective, more toxic, and more expensive.

Read more: Sanofi, Glenmark Sign Autoimmune Antibody License Deal

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