— MvfR inhibitor program has the potential to be paradigm changing in thetreatment of gram-negative infections —
— Cubist alum, Aileen Rubio, Ph.D., appointed Head of Biology —
CAMBRIDGE, Mass.– July 21, 2015 – Spero Therapeutics, LLC, a biopharmaceutical company founded to develop novel therapies for the treatment of bacterial infections, announced that the company received its first milestone payment from Roche as part of the companies’ ongoing collaboration on Spero’s multiple virulence factor Regulator (MvfR) inhibitor program of anti-invectives. Neither the R&D goal that generated the milestone payment nor the amount were disclosed. The MvfR inhibitor program targets mechanisms of virulence and persistence in Pseudomonas and other Gram-negative pathogens. Virulence targeted anti-infective drug development programs have the potential to be paradigm changing in the treatment of serious infections. The company also announced that Aileen Rubio, Ph.D., has joined the company from Cubist to serve as Head of Biology and will play a lead role directing the MvfR program.
Spero and Roche entered into their partnership in April 2014. Roche is providing non-dilutive R&D funding to Spero, and will have the option to acquire Spero’s MvfR program at the IND (Investigational New Drug) application phase, at pre-negotiated terms including an upfront payment and milestones.
“This milestone payment reflects the progress we’ve made to date and our continued commitment with Roche to jointly pursue the development of this novel category of anti-infectives for serious bacterial infections,” said Ankit Mahadevia, M.D., Chief Executive Officer of Spero. “Pre-clinical studies have demonstrated the vast potential of the MvfR pathway to treat acute infections and prevent chronic persistence of pathogens in infection sites.
Aileen Rubio, Ph.D., joins Spero after spending the last decade in positions of increased responsibility at Cubist, most recently serving as Director of Infectious Diseases with responsibility for target validation, assay development, enzymology, natural products screening and microbiological characterization for antibacterial drug discovery and development projects. She began her career at Dow Chemical prior to joining Cubist. She is the recipient of numerous awards including, the Boston Business Journal’s “40 Under 40,” and the Healthcare Business Women’s Association’s “Rising Star” and “Luminary Award.” Aileen holds B.S. in Microbiology and Chemistry from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a Ph.D. in Bacteriology from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. She completed her postdoctoral research in bacterial genetics at the University of California at San Diego.
Spero is a product-focused biopharmaceutical company developing a pipeline of novel treatments for bacterial infections and is located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The company’s pipeline of anti-infective agents is one of the most unique in the industry – focused exclusively on Gram-negative bacterial infections. Spero’s MvfR inhibitor program works differently from existing antibiotics by targeting a pathway involved in two critical bacterial processes: virulence and persistence. The Spero Potentiator program provides the opportunity to increase the power of standard of care by enhancing existing drugs through a dramatic increase in their potency against multi-drug resistant Gram-negative bacteria. Spero’s pipeline of drug candidates may uniquely reduce the morbidity caused by severe infections and promote their clearance, including in bacterial strains highly resistant to even the most potent existing antibiotics. The investors in Spero include Atlas Venture, SR One, The Partners Innovation Fund, Lundbeckfond Ventures, Merck Research Ventures, and The Kraft Group. For more information, please visit www.sperotherapeutics.com.