SEOUL -- Swiss biotech and healthcare company Roivant Sciences won an exclusive technology export contract from iNtRON Biotechnology, a South Korean biotechnology company, to develop and commercialize a drug for super bacteria infections.
iNtRON produces N-Rephasin® SAL200 (Tonabacase), a first-in-class bacteriophage endolysin bio-drug for the treatment of methicillin- and vancomycin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infections.
iNtRON said Monday that Roivant has won global licensing rights to research, develop and commercialize SAL200. The contract's total value is about $667.5 million, including an upfront payment of $10 million and $627.5 million in milestone payments that are paid when each milestone is achieved. Royalties are based on net sales after SAL200 is commercialized.
Roivant created a dedicated subsidiary to pursue the commercialization of SAL200. It would initiate a Phase 2 trial in 2019 to confirm the safety of multiple doses.
Because of the increased global threat of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, also known as "superbugs", capable of causing serious bloodstream infections, biotech companies are in the race to develop anti-superbug products.
In its pre-clinical studies, SAL200 showed effectiveness against superbugs like different kinds of Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) pathogens that cause an estimated 119,000 hospitalizations and 30,000 deaths every year in the United States alone, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease and Prevention (CDC).
iNtRON described SAL200 as a first-in-class phage endolysin-based drug proved useful in treating new resistant forms of staphylococci that do not cause bacterial resistance, unlike conventional antibiotics. The company said SAL200 has an entirely different mechanism from existing antibiotics by killing germs rapidly on contact.
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