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Rib-X Maps Out Pivotal Antibiotic Trial, As Part of Built-to-Last Company Strategy

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as much as $400 million, and Paris-based Novexel was acquired by AstraZeneca for $500 million. But Froshauer doesn’t sound like she wants to go that route.

“We are an antibiotic company. We have multiple compounds coming down the pike, some advanced, some early. We have waves of programs to build a sustainable franchise. They come from a validated, performing platform that can be used for years to come,” Froshauer says.

It’s going to take more time and money before Rib-X can achieve that goal. Right now, Rib-X is really an R&D shop, with 34 of its 43 total employees in that department, Froshauer says. But if Rib-X can strike a deal to retain U.S. commercial rights to delafloxacin, and allow a partner to have commercial rights outside the U.S., that would be a feasible way for Rib-X to build up its own small sales and marketing force to focus on hospitals, Froshauer says.

Right behind delafloxacin, Rib-X has another drug candidate, radezolid, that could be on pace for an FDA application a year later in 2013, Froshauer says. That drug, a member of the class of oxazolidinones, could be in a position to compete with Pfizer’s linezolid (Zyvox), which generated $1.14 billion in worldwide sales in 2009.

Once the company has all the necessary capabilities to be independent for the long haul, then it could be in a position where it doesn’t need help from a partner, Froshauer says. The glimmer in her eye at the moment, the opportunity Rib-X might have to keep 100 percent ownership to itself, is the Rx-04 program. That’s a program in which Rib-X has designed a number of molecules against a wide variety of gram negative bacteria, including nasty drug-resistant bugs like Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Acinetobacter baumannii. The first candidate from this program is slated to enter clinical trials by the end of 2010, Froshauer says.

“There’s a lot of interest among collaborators in that program, but we want to hold onto the value,” Froshauer says. “We feel that’s the gold mine for Rib-X.”

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