Roche and Discuva join forces to combat life-threatening infections caused by multi-drug resistant bacteria

Basel, Switzerland, and Cambridge, England – 28 February 2014

Roche and Discuva join forces to combat life-threatening infections caused by multi-drug resistant bacteria

Roche (SIX: RO, ROG; OTCQX: RHHBY) and Discuva Limited announced today that they have entered into a worldwide collaboration and licence agreement for the discovery and development of new antibiotics to treat life-threatening infections caused by multi-drug resistant Gram-negative bacteria using Discuva’s proprietary SATIN technology platform.

SATIN (Selective Antibiotic Target IdentificatioN) is an advanced next-generation sequencing and bioinformatics platform applied to unique bacterial transposon libraries. It is particularly suitable for identifying bacterial targets and selecting promising drug development candidates against multi-drug resistant bacteria.

In reference to the new partnership, Janet Hammond, Head Infectious Diseases for Roche Pharma Research and Early Development (pRED), said: “Multi-drug resistant bacteria have become a genuine threat to public health worldwide. We are pleased  to be collaborating with the very experienced team at Discuva, and are looking forward to using their unique technology platform to accelerate our efforts in antibiotic discovery and bringing antibiotic drug candidates forward quickly to help patients in need.”

David Williams, CEO of Discuva, commented: “We are delighted to be working with the team at Roche to bring urgently needed new antibiotics to patients. The combination of Discuva’s leading-edge technologies with Roche’s extensive discovery and development expertise creates a real force for changing the way new and innovative medicines are created for patients.”

Under the terms of the agreement, Discuva will receive an upfront payment of $16 million, research fees and payments on multiple programmes of up to $175 million per product, upon achievement of certain development, commercialization and sales milestones. In addition, Discuva will receive royalties on sales of products originating from this collaboration, which can reach double digit if products are based on Discuva’s proprietary early-stage antibiotic programs.

About antibiotic resistance

Antibacterial resistance represents a major threat to public health worldwide. The problem is getting worse due to the lack of new effective treatments being authorized over the past few years, which may lead to infections becoming more difficult to treat in the future. In addition, many more people die of complications caused by secondary infection with antibiotic-resistant bacteria because the side effects of the treatment for their primary condition reduces the patient's defence to bacteria leaving them vulnerable to an increasing range of antibiotic resistant bacteria.  

In the USA, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimate that more than two million patients are affected by drug-resistant infections each year, with direct healthcare costs as high as $20 billion and with additional costs to society for lost productivity potentially doubling these figures. At least 23,000 die as a direct result of antibiotic resistance in these increasingly dangerous infectious agents.

In a report published jointly by the European Medicines Agency, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the international network ReAct - Action on Antibiotic Resistance, at least 25,000 patients in the EU die each year from infections due to bacteria that are resistant to many medicines, and infections due to these bacteria in the EU result in additional healthcare costs and productivity losses of at least €1.5 billion each year.

About Discuva

Discuva Limited is a Cambridge, UK-based, privately owned biotechnology company that began operations in 2011 and has developed a platform that provides a paradigm shift in the speed and method of new antibiotic discovery.  Discuva is specifically focused on the discovery, development and commercialization of novel antibiotics that target multi-drug resistant bacterial pathogens.

For more information please visit www.discuva.com

About Roche

Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Roche is a leader in research-focused healthcare with combined strengths in pharmaceuticals and diagnostics. Roche is the world’s largest biotech company, with truly differentiated medicines in oncology, immunology, infectious diseases, ophthalmology and neuroscience. Roche is also the world leader in in vitro diagnostics and tissue-based cancer diagnostics, and a frontrunner in diabetes management. Roche’s personalised healthcare strategy aims at providing medicines and diagnostics that enable tangible improvements in the health, quality of life and survival of patients. Founded in 1896, Roche has been making important contributions to global health for more than a century. Twenty-four medicines developed by Roche are included in the WHO Model Lists of Essential Medicines, among them life-saving antibiotics, antimalarials and chemotherapy.

In 2013 the Roche Group employed over 85,000 people worldwide, invested 8.7 billion Swiss francs in R&D and posted sales of 46.8 billion Swiss francs. Genentech, in the United States, is a wholly owned member of the Roche Group. Roche is the majority shareholder in Chugai Pharmaceutical, Japan. For more information, please visit www.roche.com.

Tags: Infectious diseases