The announcement this morning that Basilea has secured access to the novel antibacterial agent tonabacase through an exclusive license and option agreement with the South Korean company iNtRON Biotechnology, reflects the company’s determination to possess a broad anti-infective platform encompassing both fungal and bacterial infections. It also reflects the company's ability to identify and secure potentially attractive in-licensing opportunities.
Tonabacase is a recombinant endolysin and potentially represents a first-in-class antibacterial approach. Endolysins like tonabacase, are derived from bacteriophage which infect and kill bacteria. Endolysins have recently enjoyed renewed interest because of mounting resistance concerns regarding commonly used antibiotics. Endolysins have several important attributes, and we suspect the most important of which is a lack of bacterial resistance mechanisms. They also represent attractive antibacterial agents as they have activity against resistant bacteria like MRSA as well as biofilms, and have demonstrated synergy with antibiotics.
Basilea has entered into a licensing and option agreement for tonabacase with the South Korean Company iNtRON Biotechnology and will evaluate its potential in further preclinical studies before deciding on whether to exercise its exclusive option for further clinical development and commercialisation. Encouragingly, tonabacase has undergone Phase 1 clinical evaluation, where it was shown to be well tolerated. Should tonabacase successfully complete Basilea's preclinical studies, it has the potential to directly enter Phase 2 studies as early as 2025.
As ceftobiprole moves towards US approval (4th April 2024), the importance of the antibiotics franchise at Basilea increases. We currently forecast peak ceftobiprole sales approaching $400m and expect the company to secure a relevant partner that can maximise its commercial potential, particularly in the bacteraemia indication where treatment options are limited, and where MRSA is involved. The addition of tonabacase if successful, should significantly boost the pipeline, and along with the recent in-licensing of novel anti-fungal agent BAL2062, provide a greater insight into the long-term potential of the anti-infectives franchise at Basilea.
We calculate a discounted cash flow fair value of CHF 91 per share for Basilea.
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Basilea Pharmaceutica is a client of Calvine Partners, and as such, this publication is not independent and should be considered a marketing communication under FCA Rules. None of the information in this publication should be considered as any form of advice.