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The Basel-based pharmaceutical company Roche is collaborating with the U.S. biotechnology firm Warp Drive Bio, which developed a proprietary technology platform to discover and develop novel classes of antibiotics.

Roche entered into the collaboration in an effort to combat the worsening threat of multi-drug-resistant bacterial infections. The Basel-based pharmaceutical company will invest $87 million in Warp Drive Bio in upfront frees, and up to $300 million in milestone payments, according to a statement announcing the collaboration.

Warp Drive Bio developed its Genome Mining Platform to discover multiple novel classes of antibiotics. The platform enables access to natural product drugs that have not been previously analysed for their antibiotic potential owing to historical technology limitations. The U.S. company is currently investigating over one hundred product candidates. As part of the collaboration with Roche, it will investigate antibiotics to treat drug-resistant, gram-negative pathogens.

Under the terms of the agreement, Roche has an option for an exclusive worldwide licence to develop and commercialize antibiotics that emerge from the collaboration. Roche will determine a candidate for drug development from certain classes of antibiotics.

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