August 9, 2017

New Haven's Melinta merging with N.C.'s Cempra

Submitted photo
Submitted photo
Eugene Sun
Submitted graphic
This is the product pipeline of the combined company. *ESKAPE pathogens: Enterococcus faecium, Staphylococcus aureus, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Acinetobacter baumannii, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Enterobacter species and Escherichia coli Cempra, Inc.
Submitted photo
Melinta's recently approved drug Baxdela treats acute bacterial skin and skin structure infections.

New Haven's Melinta Therapeutics said Wednesday that it is merging with North Carolina-based Cempra Inc., a publicly traded company and fellow antibiotics developer.

The two have agreed to an all-stock deal that will form a new publicly traded company under the Melinta Therapeutics name, with Melinta shareholders owning about 52 percent of the combined company and Cempra shareholders owning the rest.

The value of the deal was not immediately disclosed. Cempra has a market cap of $202 million.

The merger is expected to close in the fourth quarter. That would mark yet another milestone for Melinta, a longtime Connecticut bioscience company founded in 2000 as Rib-X Pharmaceuticals Inc.

"The idea is that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts," Melinta CEO Eugene Sun said Wednesday of combining the companies' drug development efforts for various conditions. The deal provides a rich pipeline across multiple classes of antibiotics, he said.

In June, Melinta received FDA approval for Baxdela (delafloxacin), an antibiotic that treats acute bacterial skin infections, including MRSA and other pathogens, is expected to be available by fall or sooner.

It's testing Baxdela for other conditions and has other drugs in the development pipeline, as does Cempra.

Cempra brings complementary products to the deal and financial resources, Sun said, and merging into a public company "allows us to access the public capital markets that as a private company was not accessible to us," he added.

Sun said the company's presence in New Haven isn't expected to change, since there's no overlap in functions between the companies, but he said there are still details to be worked out.

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