Maxwell Biotech Venture Fund has signed an agreement with Sequella, a clinical-stage pharmaceutical company, to complete clinical development and commercialise SQ109 for treatment of tuberculosis in Russia and the commonwealth of independent states.
The exclusive licence includes clinical trial supply purchase, an equity investment, milestones and royalty payments upon development and commercialisation worth up to $50m to Sequella over its duration.
SQ109 completed three Phase I studies in the US, is currently being evaluated in Phase II efficacy studies in tuberculosis patients in Africa and, if successful, could benefit all patients with tuberculosis, a disease for which improved therapies are critically required in Russia.
SQ109 enhances the activity of anti-tubercular drugs Isoniazid and Rifampin and also show potent activity against both drug susceptible, multi-drug resistant tuberculosis bacteria and XDR-tuberculosis strains.
Russia is one of the world's "high burden" tuberculosis countries, with over 150,000 cases of active tuberculosis each year and over 43,000 cases of multi-drug resistant tuberculosis, according to the World Health Organization.
The Russian market for anti-tubercular drugs per year is over $150m, with total tuberculosis control costs estimated to be above $1bn.