Pfizer sells lead antifungal asset from Amplyx buy

Nov. 13, 2023

Switzerland-based Basilea Pharmaceutica will acquire the rights to fosmanogepix, a phase 3-ready broad-spectrum antifungal candidate from Pfizer-affiliate Amplyx Pharmaceuticals.

Pfizer had picked up fosmanogepix through its April 2021 acquisition of Amplyx. At the time, the compound was in phase 2 clinical trials evaluating the safety and efficacy of both intravenous and oral formulations for the treatment of patients with life-threatening invasive fungal infections caused by yeasts and rare molds.

Now, Pfizer is passing the baton to bacterial and fungal infection specialist Basilea for an upfront payment of $37 million and potential commercial milestone payments of up to $110 million. Basilea plans to initiate the first phase 3 study with fosmanogepix mid-2024.

"This is a transformative transaction for us, as it provides a strong commercial near-term opportunity beyond our currently marketed anti-infectives Cresemba and Zevtera. We have now executed three transactions over the course of the last few weeks that have significantly strengthened our clinical-stage portfolio, and we continue to see interesting opportunities for further transactions in the future," said Basilea CEO David Veitch.

Most recently, Basilea entered into an evaluation license and option agreement with Korean biotech iNtRON for tonabacase, a preclinical antibacterial of the endolysin class. The use of endolysins represents a novel approach in the treatment of bacterial infections and Basilea plans to investigate various hypotheses in a number of preclinical studies to determine the optimal future clinical development program for tonabacase.

Just prior to the iNtRON deal, in mid-OctoberBasilea handed California-based Gravitas Therapeutics $2 million upfront for an early-stage antifungal compound with a novel mechanism of action, targeting invasive and potentially fatal mold infections caused by Aspergillus species.