Optimer lands $224M licensing pact for promising antibiotic

Japan's Astellas is betting $68 million upfront and promising up to $156 million more in milestones on the future success of Optimer's experimental antibiotic fidaxomicin, which posted promising data just days ago. In return Astellas has landed exclusive rights to Europe as well as some other territories scattered around the globe.

"We expect the Astellas collaboration will help Optimer realize the full potential of fidaxomicin and will help position this medication in these countries as the first line of treatment, both for treating CDI and reducing recurrences," said Pedro Lichtinger, Optimer's CEO.

Fidaxomicin is an oral macrocyclic antibiotic for CDI. In two late-stage trials fidaxomicin was equally effective in clinical cure when compared to vancomycin and was statistically superior to vancomycin. In a 629-patient study investigators report that fidaxomicin reduced the rate of recurrence by 45 percent when compared to vancomycin.

"We believe the combined strengths of Astellas' world-class anti-infective business capabilities, including established relationships with payers and hospitals in Europe and certain other markets,combined with Optimer's novel therapeutic for CDI, represents the most effective way to address a serious, unmet health need," said Masao Yoshida, CEO of Astellas Pharma Europe.

- here's the Optimer release