Cubist Pharmaceuticals - Biotech's Biggest Spenders

Based: United States
R&D budget: $163 million (€118.88M)
Change from 08: +34.7%
Income spent on R&D: 30.3%

Cubist's ($CBST) success at garnering big-time revenue from the MRSA drug Cubicin has helped make the company a thriving biotech operation with a promising pipeline. And that profile has occasionally inspired rumors of a potential takeover.

Cubist has certainly had its setbacks along the way, though. In late 2009 the developer was forced to shelve a drug--ecallantide, licensed from Dyax and designed to reduce blood loss during surgery--after patients in the drug arm experienced a higher death rate. But Cubist swiftly punched back, buying Calixa Therapeutics for $92.5 million down and $310 million in milestones as it pushed a promising mid-stage antibiotic toward a possible 2013 approval.

Cubist's strategy is to make CXA-201 a new weapon in the war against the Gram negative pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa, broadening its current market position on the Gram positive side of the health equation. CB-183,315 is in a mid-stage study for Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhea. There's also preclinical work underway on RSV.

Cubist is one of a number of small- to mid-sized biotechs which have managed to flourish in a field that Big Pharma exited years ago. Antibiotics are used in short bursts, making them less lucrative than medicines designed to treat chronic illnesses. But after a dearth of new development programs earlier in the decade, and a sharp spike in infections, Cubist and others have helped drive a new surge of R&D work in the field.

Cubist Pharmaceuticals - Biotech's Biggest Spenders