Microcide-Althexis: Merge to License
Big Pharma in-licensing has been kind to anti-infectives start-ups Cubist and Versicor, giving them near-term products and significant valuations. Now Althexis, hoping to capitalize on similar opportunities, is merging with Microcide. The deal is a way of jumpstarting the still nascent Althexis and re-starting Microcide, re-setting its valuation and development clock. With Microcide's cephalosporin, technology-based Althexis would get the product focus it lacked. And the deal comes with $60mm in new money from investors who've bought CEO Mark Skaletsky's vision and want him to repeat his success at GelTex.
You may also be interested in...
Three years ago, Genzyme and GelTex teamed up to commercialize Renagel, the only calcium-free phosphate binding agent used to treat dialysis patients. Now, informed with clinical data showing that calcium plays a role in cardiovascular disease among dialysis patients, the companies have agreed upon a billion-dollar merger. If Renagel's new-found blockbuster expectations are met, the deal will give Genzyme the big-market drug it needs to propel earnings growth.
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.
The Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety will consider available safety data for prostaglandin analogs isopropyl cloprostenate, ethyl tafluprostamide and others with known use in eyelash-growth cosmetic products in the EU. Currently, the substances are not restricted in cosmetic products.