Discuva Ltd.'s phenotypic screening platform will provide Roche with a tool to probe narrow-spectrum antibacterials as the pharma makes its return to antibiotics development. The companies partnered late last month to use Discuva's bacterial transposon libraries, next-generation sequencing and bioinformatics, which can identify the targets and resistance mechanisms for new pathogen-specific antibiotics in a matter of days.

The companies will discover and develop antibacterials for multidrug-resistant (MDR) Gram-negative bacteria using Discuva's selective antibiotic target identification (SATIN) technology. Discuva will receive $16 million up front and is eligible for up to $175 million in development, commercialization and sales milestones per product, plus up to double-digit royalties.