Novartis gets worldwide rights to antibiotic

Swiss drugmaker Novartis AG said Thursday it bought worldwide marketing rights to an antibiotic that is being developed to treat infections caused by drug-resistant bacteria, potentially including the "superbug" MRSA.

Novartis did not disclose the payments it will make to the drug's developer, Paratek Pharmaceuticals of Boston. The deal includes an upfront payment to Paratek, potential milestone payments as the drug candidate advances through clinical testing and regulatory review, and royalties on sales if the drug is approved.

Novartis and privately held Paratek will share responsibility and costs of developing the drug.

Paratek is running a late stage clinical trial of PTK 0796, evaluating the drug's effectiveness against complex skin infections. Novartis said other trials are planned, and studies have shown evidence the drug works against drug-resistant and hospital-acquired infections like MRSA.

The drug is being developed in both oral and intravenous forms. PTK 0796 could be the first broad-spectrum antibiotic that can be given both orally and by IV, the company said. The options could make it easier for patients to continue treatment after they leave the hospital.

Novartis stock rose 53 cents to $50.09 in morning trading.

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