The drug candidate, developed by Novozymes, is an antimicrobial peptide named Plectasin NZ2114 that targets the treatment of severe infections, such as pneumonia and septicaemia, caused by bacteria like Staphylococcus and Streptococcus.

“Plectasin NZ2114 is the first drug candidate that Novozymes has outlicensed for further preclinical and clinical development. Teaming up with one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world is the type of collaborations we were searching for,” says Per Falholt, Executive Vice President, Research & Development, Novozymes.

“The innovative mechanism of action of Plectasin NZ2114 makes it potentially active against bacteria resistant to currently available treatments,“ declares Dr. Marc Cluzel, Senior Vice President, Research & Development, sanofi-aventis. “We are looking forward to developing Plectasin NZ2114 for the treatment of severe infections such as pneumonia, septicaemia, and complicated skin and soft tissue infections.”

Confirmation of Novozymes’ biopharma activities
The business strategy of Novozymes is focused on developing sustainable bioinnovation through diversification into new areas where the company can utilize its core technologies and competencies. An antimicrobial peptide discovery group has worked on programs identifying new and improved drug candidates against severe infections caused by resistant gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria.

”Novozymes aims to enter into collaborations, like this one with sanofi-aventis, where we focus on our core competencies; research, early development and production, while our partner handles clinical development, sales, and marketing,” says Thomas Videbæk, Executive Vice President of BioBusiness at Novozymes. “It's great to see that the technology and quality of work we have built over a fairly short period of time are valued by a very experienced market player.“

It will take several years before the final drug possibly reaches the market. Meanwhile, this agreement validates Novozymes’ capabilities and confirms that the technological platform and business development activities within the biopharma space are commercially relevant and attractive.

Terms of agreement
Under the terms of the agreement, sanofi-aventis has been granted an exclusive worldwide license for the development, registration and commercialization of the drug.

The two parties will jointly work to develop and implement commercial-scale manufacturing of the Plectasin NZ2114 drug substance, with the goal of introducing a recombinant process building on Novozymes’ proprietary expression technology.

About Plectasin NZ2114
Plectasin NZ2114 is a variant of plectasin, a novel class of antimicrobials, active against resistant and sensitive gram-positive bacteria like Staphylococcus and Streptococcus.

About sanofi-aventis
Sanofi-aventis, a leading global pharmaceutical company, discovers, develops and distributes therapeutic solutions to improve the lives of everyone. Sanofi-aventis is listed in Paris (EURONEXT : SAN) and in New York (NYSE : SNY).