NEW YORK (AP) — Sanofi-Aventis and Alopexx Pharmaceuticals said Thursday they will collaborate on the development of a potential drug aimed at treating and preventing serious infections, including the bacterium that causes plague. The antibody is currently in preclinical development, the companies said. Potential targets for the compound include S. aureus, or Staph infections, and Y. pestis, better known as plague. “The emergence of antibiotic resistant infections is and remains an unmet medical need”, said Dr. Marc Cluzel, executive vice president of research and development at Sanofi-Aventis, in a statement. Under the deal, Cambridge, Mass.-based Alopexx will bring the product into Phase I, or early-stage, clinical trials during 2010, with an option for an exclusive worldwide license for Sanofi-Aventis. Alopexx, which is privately held, will receive an upfront payment and research funding from Sanofi-Aventis and is eligible for development, regulatory and commercial milestone payments which could reach $375 million in total, as well as royalties on sales of products commercialized under the license and collaboration.