Basilea picks Quintiles to move its antibiotic in Europe

Basilea CEO Ronald Scott

Basilea Pharmaceutica ($BSLN) ran into an FDA roadblock in its efforts to commercialize a new antibiotic, but the Swiss drug developer already has a green light in Europe, and it's tapping Quintiles' ($Q) global marketing expertise to launch the treatment on its home continent.

Under the deal, Quintiles will provide a dedicated sales force, physician liaisons and market-access services in select European countries, helping Basilea move the infection-fighting ceftobiprole, which will sell as either Zevtera or Mabelio. The drug is a broad-spectrum antibiotic that covers MRSA, pneumonia and other gram-positive and -negative bacteria, according to Basilea.

The partners plan to mount a staged European rollout, expecting to start in Germany with a launch in the second half of this year before rolling into other territories in 2015, Basilea CEO Ronald Scott said.

"We have initially opted to commercialize our products in Europe through Quintiles in order to retain flexibility and to more fully participate in the economic upside of our products," Scott said in a statement. "The agreement with Quintiles allows us to scale and optimize our resources during the launch of Zevtera/Mabelio on a country-by-country basis."

For Quintiles, the commercialization agreement follows a March deal with Raleigh, NC's BioDelivery Sciences ($BDSI) to launch its recently approved opioid addiction patch. And the world's largest CRO has been working to bolster its postmarket offerings, this year buying a company and inking two partnerships designed to strengthen its ability to launch therapeutics and forge physician relationships.

Meanwhile, Basilea's U.S. plans were put on hold in June when the company got word from the FDA that ceftobiprole would need a new Phase III effort if it hoped to win approval, a costly undertaking the drug developer doesn't plan to do without a partner.

- read the statement

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