Paratek Pharmaceuticals is getting hold of Transcept Pharmaceuticals through a reverse merger and has tapped into cash which will be used to finance late-stage of its investigational antibiotic.

The newly combined company, which will keep the Paratek name, is getting $93 million in new investment from the likes of The Baupost Group and Abingworth, and certain existing shareholders of Transcept and Paratek. It will also have  $15-$18 million of cash on hand from the two companies.

One of the key reasons behind the move is that it provides a lifeline for Transcept which had been considering a dissolution of the company as one of its options due to the failure of its approved insomnia drug Intermezzo, a low dose of zolpidem (the active ingredient in Sanofi’s Ambien) to make any impact on the US market.  

As for Paratek, it gets a listing on the Nasdaq and the financial support necessary for the Phase III development of omadacycline, described by new chief executive Michael Bigham (an Abingworth partner) as “an important new once daily, oral and intravenous, broad-spectrum antibiotic for serious community-acquired infections”.

He noted that omadacycline was designed “specifically to address the mechanisms by which bacteria develop resistance to existing antibiotics” and it has agreed special protocol assessments with the US Food and Drug Administration for trials in both acute bacterial skin and skin structure infections and community-acquired bacterial pneumonia.

Mr Bigham added that “we will also explore additional potential indications, including urinary tract infections”.