Sequella, a clinical-stage pharmaceutical company focused on commercializing novel antibiotics to treat life-threatening infectious diseases, and Maxwell Biotech Venture Fund announced their agreement to complete the clinical development and commercialize SQ109 for treatment of tuberculosis (TB) in the Russian Federation and neighboring Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries, including Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belorussia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Ukraine.
The structure of the exclusive license in this territory for TB includes an equity investment, clinical trial supply purchase, milestones, and royalty payments that, contingent upon successful development and commercialization, could be worth up to $50 million to Sequella over the duration of the license.
"We are delighted to be working with such an internationally respected partner as Maxwell Biotech Venture Fund for our first licensing deal for SQ109," said Dr. Carol Nacy, CEO of Sequella. "With TB, and particularly multi-drug resistant (MDR) TB, increasing at alarming rates in Russia and the CIS, the value of a successful new drug for TB can be measured not only monetarily, but in patient lives. This is a great day for the TB patients in that territory and the TB community in general."
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Russia is one of the world's "high burden" TB countries, with over 150,000 cases of active TB reported each year and over 43,000 cases of MDR TB. In parts of Russia and the CIS, TB infection rates are over three times that which the WHO considers epidemic, prompting the Russian government to make TB control a top priority. The Russian market for anti-tubercular drugs is well over $150 million per year, with total TB control costs estimated to be well over $1 billion.
"We are pleased to have entered into the development agreement with Sequella, an innovative company that discovered and is in Phase 2 development of SQ109," said Dr. Alexander Polinsky, Managing Partner of Maxwell Biotech Venture Fund. "This molecule, if successful, has the potential to benefit significantly all patients with TB, a disease for which improved therapies are desperately needed in Russia. By investing in our subsidiary, Maxwell Biotech Venture Fund is fulfilling its strategic objective of making novel innovative drugs available to Russian patients.