GSK is beefing up its infectious disease portfolio with an antifungal from firm Scynexis. For $90 million upfront and possible milestone-based payments up to $503 million the pharma giant will get the rights to commercialize and further develop Scynexis’s antifungal Brexafemme (ibrexafungerp). The small molecule treatment is approved by the US Food and Drug Administration to treat vulvovaginal candidiasis (VVC) and to reduce the incidence of recurrent VVC. It’s the first and only oral antifungal approved for both of those indications, according to the companies.
Notably, the companies say ibrexafungerp has also shown activity against Candida auris, which is currently spreading through US health care facilities. C. auris has been responsible for severe illness in people who are hospitalized, and is frequently resistant to multiple commonly used antifungals, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says. Ibrexafungerp is also in Phase 3 trials to treat invasive candidiasis, which is a serious infection that can impact multiple body parts.
“This adds to a growing list of anti-infectives that GSK has in development or on the market,” says Jeffrey Stevens, research analyst at Citeline, via email. “The licensing of BREXAFEMME opens GSK up to the candidiasis space which adds tremendous market potential.”
GSK’s other recent moves in the infectious disease space include the Oct. 2022 licensing of an antibiotic drug candidate with the potential to treat complicated urinary tract infections (UTIs) from firm Spero Therapeutics. Late last year, GSK also announced it would stop enrollment early for two Phase 3 trials of its own UTI candidate for female adults and adolescents.
This story was updated on April 19, 2023, to correct GSK and Synexis’s description of ibrexafungerp. The companies said the drug is the first and only oral antifungal to be approved to treat vulvovaginal candidiasis (VVC) and reduce the incidence of recurrent VVC, not the first and only of any antifungal to do so.