NEW HAVEN, Conn. & NEW YORK, Oct. 7, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Melinta Therapeutics, Inc., formerly Rib-X Pharmaceuticals, today announced the launch a new corporate identity, an important milestone in the Company's evolution. Melinta's new strategic direction leverages the Nobel Prize-winning science developed by Rib-X's founders. To accelerate the product portfolio, the Company will be led by a new management team with experience launching and building pharmaceutical brands. The driving force behind this new strategic direction is Melinta's new lead investor, Vatera Healthcare Partners, a specialized venture capital firm with a proven ability to build successful life sciences companies. The culmination of this process is marked with the launch of Melinta Therapeutics, an organization focused on bringing novel, differentiated antibiotics to market.
"Moving forward as Melinta, we remain deeply committed to the development and commercialization of novel, differentiated antibiotics, including what we believe are potential ground-breaking candidates," said Mary T. Szela, chief executive officer of Melinta Therapeutics. "The increasing incidence of resistant bacterial infections is of paramount concern worldwide--an issue that is compounded by the decades-long lack of innovation in the space. Melinta is building a pipeline of antibiotics, including our lead candidate, delafloxacin, with the activity and safety profiles necessary to address even the most challenging bacterial infections. With a new strategy and executive team in place, and supported by the visionary team at Vatera, we are working to advance these antibiotics forward rapidly."
"Every successful life sciences company reaches a stage at which they must evolve from discovery to a development organization," commented Thomas Koestler, Ph.D., executive director of Vatera and chairman of the Melinta board of directors. "We recognized that Melinta had reached this important inflection point at the end of 2012. It was at this time that we became involved as a majority owner to steer Melinta in a direction that would build on the solid scientific foundation of the Company, and accelerate the clinical development of life-saving antibiotics."
Melinta's lead antibiotic candidate, delafloxacin, a novel fluoroquinolone, is being developed to treat acute bacterial skin and skin structure infections (ABSSSI) and hospital-acquired bacterial pneumonia. Delafloxacin is currently in Phase 3 development in oral and IV formulations for ABSSSI, a major reason for hospitalizations in the U.S., often caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Delafloxacin is designated as a Qualified Infectious Disease Product (QIDP) by the FDA in ABSSSI as well as hospital- and community-acquired bacterial pneumonia.
Melinta also has several earlier-stage antibiotic development programs that are derived from the Company's proprietary knowledge of the structure and function of the bacterial ribosome. Among these development programs is RX-04, in which Melinta synthesized a new class of antibiotics, the pyrrolocytosines, which have demonstrated in vitro activity and preclinical efficacy against multi-drug resistant Gram-negative and Gram-positive strains of bacteria known to cause complicated urinary tract, skin and lung infections, as well as sepsis. Melinta is completing pre-clinical work on the lead candidate from the RX-04 program with the goal of progressing this candidate into human trials. In addition, the Company has a proprietary scaffold with innovative anti-fungal agents and a mid-clinical phase oxazolidinone compound, radezolid that offers a potentially improved and differentiated clinical profile vs. others in the class.
Kevin Ferro, chief executive officer of Vatera and a member of the Melinta board of directors added, "The opportunity to invest in and develop life-saving therapies for MRSA infections and Gram-negative pathogens is enormously appealing to us. It is this type of innovation and differentiation that we look for in an investment opportunity--Melinta has an exciting portfolio including a platform technology that we hope can be harnessed to address serious public health needs."
About Melinta Therapeutics - The Antibiotics Company
Melinta Therapeutics, based on the application of Nobel Prize-winning science, is dedicated to the discovery, development and commercialization of groundbreaking antibiotics to overcome drug-resistant, life-threatening infections. The need for new therapies for drug-resistant infections is widely recognized as one of the most serious public health issues facing the world today. To meet this need, Melinta Therapeutics is rapidly progressing its late-stage investigational antibiotic, delafloxacin, which is currently in Phase 3 development for acute bacterial skin and skin structure infections (ABSSSI). A key initiative at Melinta is to develop a new class of antibiotics designed to overcome the drug-resistant ESKAPE pathogens known to cause serious hospital infections. Melinta Therapeutics is privately held and backed by Vatera Healthcare Partners and Warburg Pincus. The company is headquartered in New Haven, CT with offices in Lincolnshire, IL.
For more information, please visit www.melinta.com.
About Vatera Healthcare Partners LLC
Vatera Healthcare Partners is a venture capital firm established by Michael Jaharis, co-founder of Kos Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a specialty pharmaceutical company sold to Abbott Laboratories in 2006 for $4.2 billion, and founder and CEO of Key Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a specialty pharmaceutical company that merged with Schering-Plough in 1986 for $836 million. Vatera focuses on investing in biopharmaceutical firms and products with the goal of building and growing companies by leveraging the team's collective experience and expertise in the pharmaceutical industry and strong network of relationships within industry and academia.
For more information, please visit www.vaterahealthcare.com.
Source: Melinta Therapeutics