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Aug 05, 2013
 |  BioCentury  |  Strategy

Antibiotic aggregator

How Cubist needs to execute after buying antibiotics plays Optimer, Trius

Cubist Pharmaceuticals Inc. is buying a pair of antibiotics companies to gain two compounds as revenue drivers to fill the gap between Cubicin daptomycin and the company's Phase III pipeline. Cubist's task now is to wrestle scrips away from lower priced generics by convincing hospitals of the value of Optimer Pharmaceuticals Inc.'s Dificid fidaxomicin and, if approved next year, Trius Therapeutics Inc.'s tedizolid.

With an existing U.S. sales force and plans to establish one in Europe, Cubist seized an opportunity last week to gain two products it believes line up well with the company's marketing expertise.

"These are going to be niche-strategy drugs that may be expensive relative to their competitors, which are mainly generics that hospitals will use as frequently as they can because of economic pressures. But we are very experienced in dealing with this market," said Robert Perez, president and COO of Cubist.

"The answer is finding the appropriate patients where you can make the argument that you not only have better safety and efficacy, but that you are also bringing the most value to the table," he told BioCentury.

Cubist is acquiring Optimer and Trius for cash and contingent value rights that all together total $1.6 billion. Cubist expects the deals will be accretive starting in 2015 as the company can leverage its existing sales and support staff.

While each company could end up costing Cubist roughly $800 million - $801 million for Optimer, $818 million for Trius, depending on the outcome of the CVRs - the challenges for selling each product are different, as were the dynamics behind the individual deals.

Making the numbers

On the sale front, the biggest hurdle to growing Dificid sales are hospitals and pharmacies that are responding to budget tightening by using more vancomycin for Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhea (CDAD), while selling tedizolid will require the identification of appropriate subsets of patients.

Perez said the new products fit into Cubist's five-year "Building Blocks of Growth" plan outlined...

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