Our scientific leadership team are experts in the field of infectious disease and have contributed to the discovery and approval of 11 new antibacterials.
Eric Gordon, MD
Dr. Gordon has been a distinguished medicinal chemist, company founder and senior executive since the early 1970s. He was Director of medicinal chemistry at the Squibb Institute for Medical Research and later Bristol-Myers Squibb, where he worked for 18 years. Since the early 1990s Eric has participated in the building of several successful biotech companies including, Affymax Versicor (later Vicuron Pharmaceuticals, which was acquired by Pfizer in 2005), and Sunesis Pharmaceuticals. Eric has authored more than 200 U.S. patents and scientific manuscripts, including two manuscripts that had the honor of being the most frequently cited chemistry papers in the world between 1994 and 1996.
Steve Gilman, PhD
Steve Gilman was most recently the Executive Vice President, Research & Development and Chief Scientific Officer at Cubist Pharmaceuticals which was acquired in January, 2015 by Merck for $9.5B. Prior to joining Cubist, Dr. Gilman served as Chairman of the Board of Directors and CEO of ActivBiotics, a privately held biopharmaceutical company. Previously, Dr. Gilman worked at Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Inc., where he held a number of senior leadership roles including Vice President and General Manager of the Inflammation franchise. Prior to Millennium, he was Group Director at Pfizer Global Research and Development, where he was responsible for drug discovery for the allergy, respiratory, arthritis, immunology and antibacterials therapeutic areas. Dr. Gilman has also held scientific, business, and academic appointments at Wyeth, Cytogen Corporation, Temple Medical School, and Connecticut College.
He currently serves on the board of directors of Vericel (NASDAQ: VCEL), SYNEXIS (SCYX), Inhibikase, Inc., a privately held biotechnology company, the Massachusetts Biotechnology Association, and the Penn State University Biotechnology Advisory Board.
Dr. Gilman received his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in microbiology from Pennsylvania State University, his post-doctoral training at Scripps Clinic and Research Foundation, and received a B.A. in microbiology from Miami University of Ohio. He is an author of over 60 publications and 7 US patents.
Professor David Livermore
Professor David Livermore gained his BSc in 1978 and PhD in 1983. He worked at the London Hospital Medical College from 1980 to ‘97 then joined the Public Health Laboratory Service (now Public Health England), becoming Director of its Antibiotic Resistance Monitoring and Reference Laboratory, where he remained until October 2011. He then became Professor of Medical Microbiology at the University of East Anglia, still with sessions supplied to Public Health England as its Lead on Antibiotic Resistance.
Prof Livermore has a long track record of research and publication on the evolution and epidemiology of antibiotic resistance, particularly -lactamases. He has edited for several journals, presently including the International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents. He serves on the Government’s Antimicrobial Resistance & Healthcare Associated Infection Advisory Committee, and contributed extensively to the Chief Medical Officer for England’s 2011 Annual Report.
Paul Miller, PhD
Paul Miller is Chief Scientific Officer for Synlogic. Previously, Paul was the Vice President of Infection Biology at AstraZeneca where he was responsible for the early discovery portfolio and strategy, while also leading several external collaborations. Prior to Astra-Zeneca, Paul was the Chief Scientific Officer for Antibacterial Research at Pfizer, leading discovery teams that produced 8 drug development candidates, provided critical research support for several successful marketed antibiotics including Zithromax and Zyvox, and also successfully advanced a novel oxazolidinone (sutezolid) for tuberculosis into Phase II studies. A microbial geneticist by training, he began his professional career at the Warner-Lambert Company in Ann Arbor, Michigan where he integrated modern molecular-genetic approaches into a traditional antibacterial drug discovery program and established novel target discovery projects. His work there led to new insights into the mechanisms by which bacteria sense and respond to antibiotics and other environmental agents. Paul received his Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology from the Albany Medical College, and conducted post-doctoral studies at the National Institutes of Health. He has also served as a member of the Institute of Medicine’s Forum on Microbial Threats.
Laurence Rahme, MS, PhD Scientific Founder
Laurence Rahme, MS, PhD, is the Scientific Founder of Spero Therapeutics in Cambridge , MA. Dr. Rahme received her BS in Biology from the University of Naples, Italy, and earned her Master’s in Molecular Genetics from the Institute of Genetics and Biophysics CNR and University of Naples, Italy and her PhD from the University of California at Berkeley. She conducted a postdoctoral fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and Harvard Medical School in the Departments of Molecular Biology and Genetics, respectively.
She has more than 20 years of experience in bacterial regulatory systems that govern virulence, including the Pseudomonas aeruginosa quorum sensing (QS) transcription factor MvfR, which she has identified. Her research group studies pathogen and host mechanisms that mediate or restrict bacterial pathogenesis in order to obtain knowledge that can be applied toward the development of host-protective interventions targeting critical pathways. She is internationally known for pioneering the use of P. aeruginosa as a multi-host pathogen, the use of non-vertebrate hosts to study P. aeruginosa-host interactions, and the development of anti-virulence drugs that block pathogenesis but not cell viability. Such an approach will limit the use of antibiotics and it is believed that it will decrease the development of antibiotic resistance, while preserving the beneficial flora.
Dr. Rahme is an Associate Professor in the Departments of Surgery, Microbiology and Immunobiology at Harvard Medical School and Director of the Molecular Surgical Laboratory and Associate Microbiologist in the Department of Surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital, where she started her academic carrier in 1997. Moreover, at MGH she is affiliated with the Departments of Molecular Biology and Division of Infectious Diseases. She also holds a scientific staff position at Shriners Hospital for Children, Boston. She has published many seminal manuscripts, received funding from NIH and DOD and served thus far as mentor to a total of 28 post-doctoral research fellows (PhD and MD). She is on the Advisory and Editorial Board of PLOS Biology, F1000 and Pathogens. She has served on several NIH review panels and also served as an Associate and ad-hoc editor or reviewer for many scientific journals.
Jeffrey Stein, PhD
Jeffrey Stein, Ph.D., has been the President and Chief Executive Officer of Cidara Therapeutics since 2014. Prior to joining Cidara, Dr. Stein was Chief Executive Officer of Trius Therapeutics from its founding in 2007 until its acquisition by Cubist Pharmaceuticals in September of 2013. Dr. Stein was also the founding Chairman and President of the Antibiotics Working Group. Previously, Dr. Stein was a Venture Partner and Kauffman Fellow with Sofinnova Ventures and opened the firm’s San Diego office in 2005. Prior to joining Sofinnova, Dr. Stein was co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Quorex Pharmaceuticals which was acquired by Pfizer Pharmaceuticals in 2005. He has also served as a Principal Scientist with Diversa Corporation and the Agouron Institute. Dr. Stein conducted his postdoctoral research as an Alexander Hollaender Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellow at the California Institute of Technology and his graduate work as a NASA Graduate Student Researcher Fellow at UCSD.
Professor Martti Vaara, MD, PhD
Professor Vaara, M.D., Ph.D. is the Head and Chief Physician of the Division of Clinical Microbiology, Helsinki University Hospital Laboratory. The clinical microbiology lab is the biggest in the Nordic countries and a real-life vantage point to witness the alarming spread of multi-drug resistant pathogens worldwide. Prior to starting in this position in 1997, he served for twenty-two years in various roles of increasing responsibility (including Acting Professor) at the Department of Bacteriology, National Public Health Institute, Helsinki, and at the Department of Bacteriology and Immunology, Helsinki University Medical School. During 1997-2000, he also held a joint appointment as Professor of Bacteriology at both institutions. Martti is the co-founder, CEO and CSO of Northern Antibiotics Ltd., established in 2003 and developing polymyxin derivatives that are better-tolerated than those now in clinical use.
Martti´s main research topics include molecular bacteriology, antibacterial agents, clinical microbiology in general, and the outer membrane (OM) of Gram-negative bacteria in particular. He has published 150+ papers in peer-reviewed international journals as well as edited several Finnish textbooks. Martti’s major scientific achievements include the elucidation of the molecular mechanism of polymyxin resistance in Gram-negative bacteria and development of PMBN (polymyxin B nonapeptide), now the gold standard for compounds that disrupt the permeability barrier of the OM and sensitize Gram-negative bacteria to a wide variety of antibiotics. His review “Agents that Increase the Permeability of the Outer Membrane” has been cited 850+ times.
Martti obtained his M.D. degree in 1978 and his Ph.D. degree in 1981 from the University of Helsinki Medical School. In 1985-1986 he was a visiting associate professor at the Department of Bacteriology at the University of California, Berkeley. In 2006 Martti was awarded by the President of Finland the title of Professor for life-long achievements.
Richard C. White, PhD
Dr White brings to Spero more than 40 years experience in Infectious Disease drug discovery and development. Much of his career was spent working for major pharmaceutical companies in positions of increasing responsibility at Lepetit, Glaxo, Lederle and finally at Bristol Myers Squibb, where was Vice President of Infectious Disease Drug Discovery for 12 years. In 1997 he transitioned to biotech joining what was then Versicor. He became CSO and Versicor merged with Biosearch Italia to become Vicuron, which was sold to Pfizer in 2005. Since then he has served as an advisor to multiple biotech and pharmaceutical companies. Currently he serves as Chairman of F2G, an Antifungal company in the UK, and is also Chairman of the SAB of Cempra Pharmaceuticals in NC. He has been actively involved in the discovery and development of a total seven currently marketed antibiotics and antivirals. Dr White was originally trained as a microbial biochemist at the University of Oxford in the UK.
Contact us to learn about investment opportunities.