Sanofi has announced it is to partner with Rib-X Pharmaceuticals to research new classes of antibiotic therapies.
The deal will see Rib-X receive a $10m upfront payment, with the potential for a further $9m in near-term research-based milestones as well as future regulatory and commercial milestsones.
According to Sanofi, the agreement could result in up to $186m in total milestone payments for Rib-X on a per product basis.
In return, Sanofi will hold the licence to any assets developed using Rib-X's RX-04 programme as part of the deal, with Sanofi able to develop multiple products.
The RX-04 programme is used to develop antibiotics for the treatment of Gram-negative and Gram-positive pathogens, and has shown success in treating multi-drug resistant strains.
"The clinical need for new antibiotics is reaching crisis level, yet the antibiotic pipeline is running dry and fewer and fewer companies are working to develop drugs in this space," said Dr Elias Zerhouni, president, global research and development at Sanofi. "This partnership exemplifies Sanofi's commitment to translate novel approaches for treatment into patient solutions addressing the global critical need to combat the rising threat of antibiotic drug resistance."