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The Antibiotics Dilemma

Executive Summary

The new antibiotics start-ups make perfect sense: big marketplace need; straightforward clinical development. But the biotech world has changed so radically that even sensible start-ups face daunting odds. The lack IPO or acquisition possibilities force companies to rely almost entirely on partnerships. We examine three companies' strategies: Applied Microbiology is pursuing the most radical near-term strategy of all biotechs in order to cover the downside risk of its antibiotic research. Microcide cuts risk by trying to come up with as many research targets as possible, adding a mid-term focus by trying to modify current compounds into valuable niche drugs. And Cubist is racing to create a solid proprietary position around its core program, a single group of targets, hoping to offer partners a series of opportunities.

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