PhIII antibiotic developer gets a new name, new CEO in makeover

Melinta CEO Mary Szela

The New Haven, CT-based biotech Rib-X is undergoing a makeover. The biotech has a new name and is now being run by a new management team drawn in by a new lead investor. But it's still focused on the same lead antibiotic: delafloxacin.  

The biotech will now be called Melinta Therapeutics, which will be helmed by Mary Szela, who was named CEO back in April. Vatera Healthcare Partners, which helped establish Pearl Therapeutics ahead of its acquisition by AstraZeneca ($AZN), engineered the reorganization. Vatera stepped in to lead a whopping $67.5 million round for Rib-X/Melinta back in the fall of 2012. The money was earmarked for a late-stage study of its lead antibiotic.

"Every successful life sciences company reaches a stage at which they must evolve from discovery to a development organization," said Thomas Koestler, the executive director of Vatera and chairman of the Melinta board of directors. "We recognized that Melinta had reached this important inflection point at the end of 2012. It was at this time that we became involved as a majority owner to steer Melinta in a direction that would build on the solid scientific foundation of the company, and accelerate the clinical development of life-saving antibiotics."

Rib-X, now Melinta, was named a Fierce 15 company back in 2011, when Mark Leuchtenberger was CEO. A few weeks ago Leuchtenberger took the CEO's job at Acusphere.

There's no shortage of medical need when it comes to new antibiotics. But Big Pharma largely pulled out of the field years ago due to narrow margins available, leaving a number of small biotechs to take their place.

- here's the release

Special Report: 2011 Fierce 15 - Rib-X Pharmaceuticals

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