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Novartis Buys Antibiotics Maker

Swiss pharmaceuticals company buying U.S.-based antibiotics developer Protez Pharmaceuticals for as much as $400 million.

BASEL, Switzerland (AP) -- Swiss pharmaceuticals company Novartis AG said Wednesday it is buying U.S.-based antibiotics developer Protez Pharmaceuticals Inc. for as much as $400 million.

Protez, based in Malvern, Pa., is currently in the second phase of clinical trial for a broad-spectrum antibiotic to treat multi-drug resistant bacteria strains.

Antibiotic resistant infections cause more than 100,000 deaths a year in the United States and Europe, Novartis said.

The deal will involve an initial payment of $100 million with the potential for additional payments of up to $300 million depending on the success of the new antibiotic, Novartis said.

Protez said in a statement that it will become a stand-alone subsidiary of Novartis, maintaining its operations in Malvern. The deal is subject to customary closing conditions.