Cubist snares promising antibiotic in $402.5M Calixa buyout

Cubist Pharmaceuticals has struck a deal to buy out San Diego-based start-up Calixa Therapeutics, adding a promising mid-stage antibiotic to its pipeline in exchange for $92.5 million down and another $310 million in milestones. The deal--which has already been signed off on by both boards--marks just the latest in a rapid-fire string of biotech buyouts.

"It's right in our sweet spot, right in our strike zone,'' Cubist CEO Michael Bonney told the Boston Globe. Calixa has been developing CXA-201 for urinary tract and intra-abdominal infections. And it's kept going on a virtual staff of only seven workers, with much of the development work farmed out to contract researchers. Calixa acquired CXA-201 in a deal with Japan's Astellas Pharma.

Lexington, MA-based Cubist also tells the Globe that it plans to be ready with an NDA for its new pipeline prospect in 2013. Cubist markets Cubicin, the first antibiotic in a new class of anti-infectives called lipopeptides. "If successfully developed and launched, we believe that CXA-201 would be a potent weapon in the treatment of serious infections caused by multi-drug-resistant strains of the Gram negative pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa, playing a role similar to our Gram positive therapy Cubicin (daptomycin for injection) for the treatment of complicated skin infections and bacteremia caused by MRSA," Bonney says.

Thomson Reuters has counted up more than 90 M&A deals this year--significantly higher than the 84 M&A deals counted in 2008.

- here's the Cubist press release
- check out the report in the Boston Globe