Rib-X Pharma, and Its Lead Antibiotic, Gear Up for Prime Time

10/2/08

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Delafloxacin, the No. 2 antibiotic in the company’s pipeline, is in a Phase 2 study for skin and soft-tissue infections. The firm’s computer-based discovery platform has yielded two other antibiotics slated to enter clinical trials by the end of this year, Froshauer says. She also notes that the firm has put its discovery system to work on identifying a drug to treat an antibiotic-resistant bug, called acinetobacter, which has gained notoriety recently for infecting U.S. soldiers in Iraq.

Still, the bill to advance an antibiotic or any other drug into late-stage development is typically too high for a privately held biotech to foot on its own. Froshauer, who acknowledged that her company is unlikely to seek a near-term initial public offering due to the poor IPO climate, says Rib-X in the process of raising another round of private capital from existing investors. She notes that the largest investor in Rib-X is Warburg Pincus, an international private equity investment firm. (Warburg, which says it has invested $29 billion across several sectors over the years, is also a founding partner of recently launched Boston investment fund Constitution Medical Investors.)

Despite the expected influx of dollars in the next round, the exact amount of which the CEO declined to disclose, Froshauer says her company will “look to next year for the significant partnerships to offset [spending] on these core programs.”

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