Bayer partners on Trius' Ph3 antibiotic in $94M pact

Eyeing the pharma prize in emerging markets, Bayer Pharma is partnering up with San Diego-based Trius Therapeutics on its lead antibiotic. The biotech reports that Bayer is handing over a $25 million upfront and promising up to $69 million more in exchange for regional licensing rights to the treatment in Asia, Africa and Latin America. For now at least Trius says it is holding on to the rights in the U.S., Canada and Europe.

The pact gives Bayer a big role in the future of torezolid phosphate, a Phase III antibiotic. And Bayer also agreed to pay for a quarter of the remaining R&D costs as part of its deal. A number of biotechs like Trius have stepped into the development gap left by Big Pharma companies after they exited the antibiotic arena complaining of small margins and limited prospects.

Torezolid is designed to fight against acute bacterial skin and skin structure infections, or ABSSSI, and pneumonia. Trius says the antibiotic is an IV and orally administered second generation oxazolidinone.

"Bacterial infectious diseases represent one of the largest therapeutic areas in China and continue to grow rapidly there and in other emerging markets. This collaboration is a key element in our strategy of bringing innovative medicines to patients, especially in emerging markets," said Dr. Jorg Reinhardt, chairman of the board of management of Bayer HealthCare.

- here's the Trius release