A new anti-infectives company, spun out of the Sanofi-Aventis group, has received €40 million in financing from an international group of leading life science investors led by Atlas Venture and including Sofinnova, 3i, Abingworth and Novo A/S.
The new company, to be named Novexel , is to focus on the discovery and development of novel anti-bacterials and anti-fungals. The company has already inherited notable assets including two that are in Phase I. NXL103, an oral antibiotic against bacterial respiratory infections, and NXL201, for the treatment of severe fungal infections.
The move by Sanofi-Aventis to create a subsidiary focusing wholly on anti-infectives sees them enter a market, worth approximately $25 billion and is expected to grow to $32 billion worldwide by 2010. Of this, drugs such as Vancomycin, Linezolid and other such anti-infectives used in treating resistant strains of bacteria constitute nearly $1 billion.
The unmet need for effective antibacterial drugs has arisen from the rapid proliferation of bacterial pathogens resistant to the current repertoire of antibiotics, most of which are directed against a limited set of targets.
The hope is that Novexel can add to the limited choice of therapy, which currently includes Beta lactam antibiotics, penicillins, cephalasporins and carbapenems.
Novexel is to be led by five founders who between them have over 120 years of anti-infectives discovery and development experience, including the successful development of Ketek, Rulid and Augmentin.
Iain Buchanan joins Novexel as CEO from Vertex Pharmaceuticals. He commented: "We will target established global markets where there is an increasing need for novel anti-infectives to combat drug resistant pathogens."