Spexis sells preclinical antibiotics programme to Basilea

Published: 8-Feb-2024

The CHF 2m deal gives Basilea ownership of a novel programme of Gram-negative bacteria-targeting antibiotics

Spexis AG, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on macrocycle therapeutics for rare diseases and oncology, today announced that it has closed its asset purchase agreement with Basilea Pharmaceutica Ltd, wherein Basilea has now formally become the owner of a preclinical program of antibiotics developed by Spexis. 

They are from a novel class targeting Gram-negative bacteria, including multidrug-resistant strains.

The transaction was subject to the approval by theWestern District Court of the Canton Basel-Landschaft, which has now been obtained.

As part of the completed transaction, Basilea has acquired all program compounds, including intellectual property, and is paying Spexis up to a total of CHF 2 million, which consists of three key payments. 

Basilea has assumed the rights and obligations of Spexis related to the program, including potential low single-digit percentage royalties on sales, under licensing agreements.

The assets sold to Basilea are macrocyclic antibiotics developed within Spexis’ Outer Membrane Protein Targeting Antibiotics (OMPTA) program which selectively disrupt the lipopolysaccharide transport bridge, an essential structure in Gram-negative bacteria. 

This results in a loss of the integrity of the outer cell membrane, intracellular accumulation of lipopolysaccharides and killing of the bacteria. Activity has been shown in vitro and in vivo against Enterobacteriaceae such as E. coli and K. pneumoniae, including strains resistant to beta-lactams and colistin, an antibiotic regarded as last-resort therapy. 

Jeff Wager, MD, Chairman & CEO of Spexis, said: “We are very pleased to have finalised this transaction with Basilea, as it underscores the power of our macrocycle platform as a drug discovery platform and its potential to generate products that can address significant unmet medical needs.”

“From a corporate strategy perspective, this transaction is part of Spexis’ efforts to partner or divest non-core programs and assets as the company works towards exiting its moratorium status. It will generate funds and streamline focus, which we can utilise towards advancing our core programs in rare disease and oncology. ”

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