Calixa Passes Key Safety Test in Clinical Trial of New Antibiotic

3/24/09Follow @xconomy

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a partner with Domain who has been associated with a slew of notable biotech companies. The most notable ones in the world of antibiotics were Peninsula Pharmaceuticals, which was sold to Johnson & Johnson in 2005, and Cerexa, acquired by Forest Laboratories in 2007. Before joining the new company, Ge worked at both of those companies, too.

Calixa may have raised a load of money in 2007, but it’s running lean, with just four full-time employees, three part-timers, and about 10 consultants, Ge says. “It’s a very experienced team, we know what we’re doing.”

The company will face some competition from incumbent products made by Merck and AstraZeneca, although one of the reasons Ge likes its chances is that there are a lot fewer companies trying to tackle pseudomonas than MRSA. “There aren’t too many drugs like ours in the pipeline,” Ge says.

Calixa still has plenty of work to do in developing the drug. It’s given intravenously, and the company still needs to decide the dosing regimen—will it be twice a day or three times, and for how long? Hospital antibiotics typically are given on a 5 to 14 day course of treatment, and those parameters need to be pinned down, Ge says.

Calixa has been stealthy until now because it didn’t need to tell its story to raise money, Ge says. But there always comes a point where that is necessary, and to explain to the physician community what they’re doing. Calixa expects to present details on this Phase I trial in September at the biggest annual meeting of infectious disease experts, the Interscience Conference on Antimicrobials and Chemotherapy, or ICAAC. It’s pronounced Ick-ack, for those who have never been there.

Last night, Calixa posted its first corporate website, which provides some basic information on the who, what, when, and why. But the ICAAC meeting sounds like it will a more important coming-out party. “That will be the first time we really talk to the public,” Ge says.

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