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Antibiotic biotech Melinta files for bankruptcy

Worries over antibiotic business model continue to mount

Antibiotics

Antibiotic maker Melinta has filed for bankruptcy, as fears continue to mount over so-called ‘superbugs’ that are resistant to currently approved antibiotics.

The financial collapse of Melinta raises serious concerns over the viability of the antibiotics business model, with companies in the field often failing due to the lack of financial return inherent to the development of these medicines.

According to the World Health Organization, antibiotic resistance is one of the most significant threats to global health today. Certain infections, such as pneumonia, tuberculosis, blood poisoning, gonorrhoea and others are becoming resistant to standard antibiotics, making them increasingly hard-to-treat.

Melinta had been raising its financial concerns for much of 2019, ultimately culminating in this bankruptcy plan which will see the New-Jersey, US-based company undergo a major restructuring agreement.

As a result, Melinta will lay off approximately 60 staff as part of that restructuring process. These efforts are aimed at ensuring the company stays afloat, keeping its antibiotic pipeline alive as well.

“We are confident that this process will secure new ownership of the business with the financial resources to support the company’s antibiotics portfolio and ensure these potentially life-saving products continue to get to patients in need,” said Jennifer Sanfilippo, Melinta’s interim CEO.

The development of new antibiotics to counteract the growing epidemic of antibiotic-resistant infections has been coming at a slow, even glacial, speed. Many of the major pharma companies have halted research in this area, as there is no significant payback for the cost of R&D.

This is largely due to the fact that the newest, most effective antibiotics are usually kept in reserve and only used when infections do not respond to older agents.

However, as global worries mount over the danger of these resistant infections, experts have called for a new system for the development of antibiotics, with the hope that financial incentives could draw more researchers to the field.

One such proposed scheme comes from the UK government, which has planned to trial a subscription-style payment model with the pharma industry. This would include an upfront payment made for access to any drugs developed that can treat antibiotic-resistant infections.

There are still players in the antibiotic and antimicrobial filed, however – Japanese pharma Shionogi recently won FDA approval for its antimicrobial drug Fetroja, in the treatment of adults with complicated urinary tract infections.

GlaxoSmithKline is also looking to bring a new antibiotic to market, with two phase 3 trials of its new-class candidate recently initiated. It is initially being developed to treat uncomplicated urinary tract infection and urogenital gonorrhoea.

Article by
Lucy Parsons

3rd January 2020

From: Research

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