Takeover will trigger up to $300 million in milestone fees for successful development and launch of antibiotic.

Novartis has decided to acquire Protez Pharmaceuticals for $100 million at close of the agreement. Novartis will pay up to $300 million if certain clinical milestones, regulatory approvals, and commercial targets are achieved. Protez will become a stand-alone subsidiary of Novartis, maintaining its operations in Malvern, PA.

Protez’ only clinical candidate, PZ-601, is an injectable antibiotic in the carbapenems class of agents. Protez commenced a 100-patient Phase II study for PZ-601 in May 2008 in the U.S. to evaluate the safety and efficacy of PZ-601 in patients with complicated skin and skin structure infections, including cellulites, abscesses, infected wounds, and ulcers. The firms believe that this compound has the potential to be used in bacterial infections resistant to other medicines including MRSA.

“This acquisition,” remarks Christopher M. Cashman, Protez president and CEO, “underscores our company’s infectious disease expertise and novel antimicrobial programs. We believe the growing presence of Novartis in the specialty field of hospital infections provides Protez the support required to fully execute its vision, advance its product pipeline, and positively impact human health.”

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