$820 million deal gives Actavis control of newly-approved intravenous antibiotic

Pharma major Actavis has agreed to buy antibacterials specialist Durata Therapeutics for $675 million (£420 million), with an extra $147 million available in performance milestone payments. The deal gives Actavis access to Durata’s intravenous antibiotic Dalvance (dalbavancin), which was approved in May 2014 to treat skin infections.

Actavis recently made the jump from being predominantly a generics manufacturer to developing its own novel treatments when it bought Forest Labs for $25 billion this February. Chief executive Brent Saunders has said that the company’s strategy is to ‘make smart, targeted investments that complement our existing businesses’. Actavis has a small infectious diseases R&D effort, and is developing a combination of established cephalosporin antibiotic ceftazidime with avibactam, a beta-lactamase inhibitor that prevents the antibiotic from being metabolised by resistant bacteria.

The deal is an example of renewed interest in antibacterials within the pharma industry, with new regulatory incentives making it more attractive to develop new antibiotics.