UK biotech hands off mid-stage C. difficile drug in up to $570M deal
A biotech in the UK has out-licensed a C. difficile candidate to a US biotech for further clinical and commercialization efforts.
UK-based Destiny Pharma announced Friday that it is handing NTCD-M3 to Sebela Pharmaceuticals. The deal includes an initial $1 million upfront, $19 million in development milestones, and an additional $550 million in sales milestones — on top of royalties.
The deal allows Sebela to lead and finance clinical development and commercialization of the drug in North America, while Destiny retains the majority of rights in Europe and the rest of the world. Destiny added in a statement that Sebela “has a minority interest in any income generated in these non-North American territories based on the clinical studies it is funding.”
NTCD-M3, tested to prevent recurrence of C. difficile infections, was originally in-licensed from its developer Dale Gerding, a professor of medicine at Loyola University Chicago. The therapy is a non-toxic strain of C. difficile that was found to potentially outcompete toxic strains of the disease, Destiny Pharma CEO Neil Clark tells Endpoints News.
After the candidate was developed, it was then out-licensed to ViroPharma, which took it through a Phase I study before the company was acquired by Shire in 2014 for more than $4 billion. Clark said that Shire then handed the therapy back to Gerding, and then made its way to Destiny in 2020.
Clark said that the deal with Sebela came about through “good old-fashioned business development.” As he elaborated,
we knew we had a very good asset in the GI space. So we, as you can imagine, began to try and target GI players as well as infectious disease companies. And we obviously had quite a few discussions focused towards the end of last year, obviously with Sebela, and managed to strike a deal with them, which we’re happy about.
Clark said that with Destiny as a London-listed biotech, “we can’t raise the funds to carry out Phase III studies on our own,” additionally noting that finding partners to join up with on Phase III development is a longstanding strategy for the company.
The chief executive said that the company wanted a partner that could bring in expertise in late-stage clinical development, along with the “ability to think through to the requirements for hopefully product approval — and then of course commercialization.”
With this deal now set, Destiny is going to finish manufacturing everything that’s needed for Sebela to take the drug through Phase III, which Destiny expects will start sometime next year.