HAPEL HILL, N.C. and NEW HAVEN, Conn., Aug. 09, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Cempra, Inc. (Nasdaq:CEMP), a clinical-stage pharmaceutical company focused on developing differentiated anti-infectives for acute care and community settings to meet critical medical needs in the treatment of infectious diseases, and Melinta Therapeutics, a privately held company focused on discovering, developing, and commercializing novel antibiotics to treat serious bacterial infections, today announced that the companies have entered into a definitive agreement under which Melinta will merge with a subsidiary of Cempra. The merger is expected to create a NASDAQ-listed company committed to discovering, developing and commercializing important anti-infective therapies for patients and physicians in areas of significant unmet need.
“The combined company’s extensive pipeline, including commercial, clinical and preclinical stage anti-infective programs with multiple products in development across several indications, provides an exceptional platform to deliver potential long-term growth and value for shareholders,” said David Zaccardelli, Pharm.D., acting chief executive officer of Cempra.
“We are excited to merge Melinta with Cempra, bringing together an unrivaled set of assets and opportunities,” said Eugene Sun, M.D., chief executive officer of Melinta.
“This transaction creates a leading antibiotics company to drive the commercial launch of Baxdela, and build over time by developing market-leading pipeline assets meeting the tremendous need for novel antibiotics that treat serious infections,” added John Temperato, president and chief operating officer of Melinta.
In June 2017, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Baxdela in adults for the treatment of acute bacterial skin and skin structure infections (ABSSSI) caused by susceptible bacteria. Baxdela is a fluoroquinolone that exhibits activity against both gram-positive and gram-negative pathogens, including MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), and is indicated to start patients on either intravenous (IV) or oral formulations. Baxdela has been designated a Qualified Infectious Disease Product (QIDP) by the FDA and as such, qualifies for an additional five years of marketing exclusivity to be added to the five year exclusivity period provided by the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. Melinta is also evaluating Baxdela in an ongoing Phase 3 study in patients with community-acquired bacterial pneumonia (CABP) and plans to initiate a clinical trial in patients with complicated urinary tract infections (cUTI). Baxdela is not currently FDA approved for the treatment of CABP or cUTI.
Beyond the commercial launch and potential label expansion of Baxdela, the combined company will continue to pursue important pipeline opportunities. Cempra is actively engaged with potential government and industry partners to identify non-dilutive funding to support the execution of a clinical safety study to support a response to the complete response letter (CRL) for its oral solithromycin new drug application (NDA) for CABP. Cempra also has an ongoing ophthalmic development program for solithromycin and is completing preclinical work to support a potential IND filing in 2018 with the FDA. Fusidic acid for ABSSSI continues to progress after completion of a successful Phase 3 study with a clear path to NDA submission. Radezolid, a next-generation oxazolidinone discovered by Melinta using its technology platform, is nearing Phase 1 completion in acne vulgaris, with potential for expansion to additional indications. Radezolid, which is being developed with a partner, represents the first novel antibiotic in the acne space in more than 30 years, and has potent activity against acne-causing pathogens, including resistant strains. Melinta is also actively progressing compounds within its ESKAPE pathogen program. Using a technology platform based on Nobel Prize-winning science that is licensed from Yale, Melinta has built an entirely new class of antibiotics targeting ESKAPE pathogens, the “superbugs” causing significant mortality risk to patients affected, and intends to nominate a clinical candidate from this program in 2018.
Management and Organization
The combined company, which will be named Melinta Therapeutics, will bring together a deep bench of management talent from both companies. The board of directors of the combined company will have nine seats, with four appointed by Cempra and four appointed by Melinta, together with a newly appointed CEO. Cempra and Melinta will work together through a joint selection committee to identify the CEO leadership of the combined company, who will be able to build on strong experience and the shared vision of the board to continue growing one of the world’s leading anti-infectives companies. Melinta will designate the Chairman of the combined company board.
Morgan Stanley served as lead financial advisor and Skadden and Wyrick Robbins served as legal counsel to Cempra with respect to the transaction. Stifel also served as financial advisor to Cempra with respect to the transaction. J.P. Morgan Securities LLC served as financial advisor, and Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP served as legal counsel to Melinta with respect to the transaction.
Baxdela (delafloxacin) tablets and intravenous injection are approved for the treatment of ABSSSI (Acute Bacterial Skin and Skin Structure Infections). Baxdela was given priority review by the FDA due to its designation as a Qualified Infectious Disease Product (QIDP) under the Generating Antibiotic Incentives Now (GAIN) Act of 2012. The QIDP designation qualifies Baxdela for certain incentives related to the development of new antibiotics, including a five-year extension of any non-patent exclusivity period awarded to the drug.
About Melinta Therapeutics
Melinta Therapeutics, Inc. is dedicated to saving lives threatened by the global public health crisis of bacterial infections, through the development and commercialization of novel antibiotics that provide new and improved therapeutic solutions. Melinta’s lead product is Baxdela, an antibiotic approved for use in the treatment of ABSSSI. Melinta is also committed to developing, through the application of Nobel Prize-winning science, a new class of antibiotics designed to overcome the multi- and extremely-drug-resistant pathogens for which there are few to no options, known collectively as ESKAPE pathogens (Enterococcus faecium, Staphylococcus aureus, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Acinetobacter baumannii, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Enterobacter species and Escherichia coli), which cause the majority of life-threatening hospital infections. Melinta Therapeutics is privately held and backed by Vatera Healthcare Partners (www.vaterahealthcare.com) and Malin Corporation plc (www.malinplc.com), among other private investors. The company is headquartered in New Haven, CT with offices in Lincolnshire, IL. Visit www.melinta.com for more information.
About Cempra, Inc.
Cempra, Inc. is a clinical-stage pharmaceutical company focused on developing differentiated anti-infectives for acute care and community settings to meet critical medical needs in the treatment of infectious diseases. Cempra's two lead product candidates are currently in advanced clinical development. Solithromycin has been evaluated in two Phase 3 clinical trials for community-acquired bacterial pneumonia (CABP). Cempra is currently seeking approval for CABP for both intravenous and oral capsule formulations from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Solithromycin is licensed to strategic commercial partner Toyama Chemical Co., Ltd., a subsidiary of FUJIFILM Holdings Corporation, for certain exclusive rights in Japan. Cempra is contracted with BARDA for the development of solithromycin for pediatric use and has commenced enrollment in a global Phase 2/3 trial to evaluate the safety and efficacy of solithromycin versus standard of care antibiotics in children and adolescents from two months to 17 years of age. Solithromycin is also in development for uncomplicated urogenital urethritis caused by Neisseria gonorrhoeae or chlamydia. Fusidic acid is Cempra's second product candidate, which has completed a Phase 3 trial comparing fusidic acid to linezolid in patients with ABSSSI. Cempra also has an ongoing exploratory study of fusidic acid for chronic oral treatment of refractory infections in bones and joints. Both products seek to address the need for new treatments targeting drug-resistant bacterial infections in the hospital and in the community. Cempra is also studying solithromycin for ophthalmic conditions and has synthesized novel macrolides for non-antibiotic uses such as the treatment of chronic inflammatory diseases, endocrine diseases and gastric motility disorders. Cempra was founded in 2006 and is headquartered in Chapel Hill, N.C. For additional information about Cempra please visit www.cempra.com.