Basilea Pharmaceutica and iNtRON Biotechnology have signed an exclusive evaluation license and option agreement for the potential first-in-class clinical-stage antibacterial agent, tonabacase.
Next year, Basilea will explore multiple hypotheses through preclinical studies to identify the optimal future clinical development programme for tonabacase.
Under an exclusive option, Basilea will license tonabacase for further clinical development and commercialisation, after completing the preclinical evaluation phase.
Tonabacase has demonstrated activity in vitro and in preclinical animal models of infection against methicillin-resistant and methicillin-susceptible Staphylococcus aureus besides in-vitro activity against coagulase-negative staphylococci.
In Phase I trials, tonabacase demonstrated good tolerance with both single and multiple dose administrations.
As per the agreement terms, Basilea will make an undisclosed upfront payment to iNtRON.
Basilea will also make an additional payment if it chooses to exercise its exclusive option and proceed with the license agreement at the pre-agreed financial terms.
Basilea chief medical officer Dr Marc Engelhardt said: “There continues to be a high medical need for new treatment options for patients with persistent infections caused by Gram-positive bacteria and tonabacase is an exciting and innovative asset for us to evaluate over the coming months.
“If the outcome of our evaluation is positive and we enter into a full license agreement, we may be able to start directly a Phase II clinical study in 2025.”