Cubist extends superbug R&D to Europe

Recognising that antibiotic resistance is a growing public health issue worldwide, the global leader in antibiotic research, US-based Cubist Pharmaceuticals, has opened an international HQ in Zurich, Switzerland.

Resistant bacterial infections result in an estimated 25,000 deaths in the EU and 23,000 deaths in the US annually and the issues of rising antibiotic resistance and the lack of treatment options have raised alarms with world leaders. Against this backdrop, Cubist is investing $400 million this year in antibiotic R&D.

The company is focusing its late-stage pipeline on addressing serious and potentially life-threatening healthcare-acquired bacterial infections.

Dr Patrick Vink leads Cubist’s international operations, which will focus on the launch of potential new antibiotics in Europe in 2015.

“Dangerous superbugs know no geographic boundaries. Cubist has never been more committed, nor better positioned, to lead the battle against superbugs. We are one of the few companies globally to take on the challenge of antibiotic resistance, and this expansion enables us to continue to address the growing medical need,” he said.

The company’s new drug Sivextro was approved in the US in June and Cubist has a goal of launching at least four new antibiotics by 2020 in the US, according to chief executive Michael Bonney. Drug development has been slow in this field in the past, but the US and Europe have introduced incentives and joint-working initiatives to speed new candidates.

In Europe Cubist has filed its ceftolozane/tazobactam combination therapy for complicated urinary tract infections and complicated intra-abdominal infections with the EMA regulator and expects a decision in the latter part of 2015. It is also under review in the US, with the FDA ruling expected in December this year.

Cubist’s international expansion follows its strong performance in 2013, when it generated full year total net revenues of $1.1 billion.


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