Roche and Warp Drive Bio Link on Antibiotics

30.10.2017 -

As antibiotic resistance becomes an increasingly urgent threat to public health, pharmaceutical firms Roche and Warp Drive Bio have joined forces to develop novel classes of the drugs to treat bacterial infections.

Under the collaboration, Warp Drive will use its proprietary Genome Mining Platform to advance multiple novel classes of antibiotics with activity against clinically important, drug-resistant Gram-negative pathogens.

Warp Drive said it is currently identifying and evaluating more than 100 novel classes of potential natural antibiotics that were previously undiscovered and consequently never analyzed for their impact on human health.

According to the Cambridge, Massachusetts-headquartered company, there are currently 10 classes of natural antibiotics approved for patient use compared to five classes of synthetic antibiotics. It noted that daptomycin was the last novel natural antibiotic approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), more than 30 years ago.

Under terms of the deal, Roche will receive an option for an exclusive license to develop and commercialize certain antibiotic classes that emerge from the collaboration, while its collaboration partner will retain worldwide rights to all other novel antibiotic classes.

Warp Drive will receive up to $87 million in upfront payment, option fees and milestone payments for preclinical events and up to $300 million in relation to specific clinical, regulatory and sales milestones on products licensed to Roche. It also stands to receive tiered royalties for products licensed to Roche.

According to a 2016 UK study, Review on Antimicrobial Resistance, 700,000 people die every year as a consequence of antibiotic resistance. The review estimated that the death toll will rise to 10 million patients per year by 2050, greater than the number of projected deaths due to cancer.