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Cempra, Melinta merge to form commercial-stage anti-infectives company

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Cempra, Inc., a clinical-stage pharmaceutical company focused on developing differentiated anti-infectives for acute care and community settings to meet critical medical needs in the treatment of infectious diseases, and Melinta Therapeutics, a privately held company focused on discovering, developing and commercializing novel antibiotics to treat serious bacterial infections, have announced that the companies have entered into a definitive agreement under which Melinta will merge with a subsidiary of Cempra. The merger is expected to create a company committed to discovering, developing and commercializing important anti-infective therapies for patients and physicians in areas of significant unmet need.

“The combined company’s extensive pipeline, including commercial, clinical and preclinical stage anti-infective programs with multiple products in development across several indications, provides an exceptional platform to deliver potential long-term growth and value for shareholders,” said David Zaccardelli, Pharm.D., acting chief executive officer of Cempra.

“We are excited to merge Melinta with Cempra, bringing together an unrivaled set of assets and opportunities,” said Eugene Sun, M.D., chief executive officer of Melinta. 

“This transaction creates a leading antibiotics company to drive the commercial launch of Baxdela, and build over time by developing market-leading pipeline assets meeting the tremendous need for novel antibiotics that treat serious infections,” added John Temperato, president and chief operating officer of Melinta.

In June 2017, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Baxdela in adults for the treatment of acute bacterial skin and skin structure infections (ABSSSI) caused by susceptible bacteria. Baxdela is a fluoroquinolone that exhibits activity against both gram-positive and gram-negative pathogens, including MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), and is indicated to start patients on either intravenous (IV) or oral formulations. Baxdela has been designated a Qualified Infectious Disease Product (QIDP) by the FDA and as such, qualifies for an additional five years of marketing exclusivity to be added to the five year exclusivity period provided by the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. Melinta is also evaluating Baxdela in an ongoing Phase 3 study in patients with community-acquired bacterial pneumonia (CABP) and plans to initiate a clinical trial in patients with complicated urinary tract infections (cUTI). Baxdela is not currently FDA approved for the treatment of CABP or cUTI.

Beyond the commercial launch and potential label expansion of Baxdela, the combined company will continue to pursue important pipeline opportunities. Cempra is actively engaged with potential government and industry partners to identify non-dilutive funding to support the execution of a clinical safety study to support a response to the complete response letter (CRL) for its oral solithromycin new drug application (NDA) for CABP.  Cempra also has an ongoing ophthalmic development program for solithromycin and is completing preclinical work to support a potential IND filing in 2018 with the FDA.  Fusidic acid for ABSSSI continues to progress after completion of a successful Phase 3 study with a clear path to NDA submission. Radezolid, a next-generation oxazolidinone discovered by Melinta using its technology platform, is nearing Phase 1 completion in acne vulgaris, with potential for expansion to additional indications. Radezolid, which is being developed with a partner, represents the first novel antibiotic in the acne space in more than 30 years, and has potent activity against acne-causing pathogens, including resistant strains.  Melinta is also actively progressing compounds within its ESKAPE pathogen program.  Using a technology platform based on Nobel Prize-winning science that is licensed from Yale, Melinta has built an entirely new class of antibiotics targeting ESKAPE pathogens, the “superbugs” causing significant mortality risk to patients affected, and intends to nominate a clinical candidate from this program in 2018.

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