Optimer trial results lead to takeover talks

Not surprisingly, there are talks of takeover at Optimer Pharmaceuticals, which on Friday announced promising data from a Phase III trial of its antibiotic, fidaxomicin. An NDA is expected in the second half of this year, with approval possible for 2011. The company also boasts a second late-stage drug for traveler's diarrhea.

In the trial, fidaxomicin was equally effective of curing people of the "C.difficile" bacterial infections and was more effective than the standard of care at preventing recurrence. Speaking with Xconomy's Luke Timmerman, Optimer CEO Michael Chang discussed the possibility of a takeover and addressed why a prime target like Optimer hasn't made a deal yet. "Pharma thinks that small startup companies are desperate. So they are playing a wait-and-see game. They have become picky. They hold the money. They think small startups are begging them to get taken out," Chang tells Xconomy. "My answer to that is we have always said to the investment community that we are not eager to be taken out. We want to continue to build value for investors."

With Big Pharma focused on pursuing less risky drug programs, Optimer--with its two late-stage programs--is very attractive."We are one of the very few companies out there that has de-risked two late-stage compounds," adds Chang.

- read the Xconomy report