Roche has licensed an early-stage treatment for antibiotic resistance from Japan’s Meiji Seika Pharma and Fedora of Canada.

The treatment in question is OP0595, a beta-lactamase inhibitor in Phase I and Roche has obtained worldwide rights from both companies, with the exception of Japan. The combination of OP0595 with a beta-lactam antibiotic targets severe infections caused by Enterobacteriaceae, including multi-drug-resistant strains.

Cashwise, Meiji and Fedora will receive upfront plus development, regulatory and sales event milestone payments totalling potentially up to $750 million. They are also entitled to receive tiered royalties on products originating from the collaboration.

Roche notes that the beta-lactam class, which includes penicillins, cephalosporins, monobactams and carbapenems, makes up about 65% of global antibiotic sales. However their  efficacy is threatened by rising bacterial resistance caused by beta-lactamase enzymes.

Janet Hammond, head of infectious diseases for Roche Pharma Research and Early Development (pRED), noted that “there is an urgent need for new antibiotics able to combat the increasing resistance…that is being seen worldwide”. She added that the company “has a strong legacy in antibiotics and this collaboration demonstrates we are continuing to execute on our commitment.

“This beta-lactamase inhibitor has the potential for an expanded spectrum against multi-drug resistant bacteria and could be a much needed option for patients suffering from difficult-to-treat infections,” she concluded.