The Spero Potentiator program is a franchise of development candidate stage proprietary molecules designed for use in combination with existing anti-infectives agents. The outer membrane of Gram-negative bacteria acts as a barrier to antibiotics, limiting access of antibacterial agents to their molecular targets. Potentiators interact with the Gram-negative outer membrane to enable access, and in combination enable agents traditionally only used for Gram-positive infections such as macrolides to treat multi-drug resistant Gram-negative infections, and increase the potency of agents used for Gram-negatives such as meropenem.
Spero has multiple combinations of approved agents with potentiators that it is advancing into clinical studies for a range of indications including complicated urinary tract infections and complicated intra-abdominal infections. These programs were in-licensed from Northern Antibiotics Ltd. Terms of this transaction were not disclosed.
In parallel, the company continues to advance its MvfR inhibitor program in collaboration with Roche, targeting mechanisms of virulence and persistence in Gram-negative organisms.
We appreciate the support and confidence demonstrated by our new and existing investors in this round of financing,” said Ankit Mahadevia, M.D., Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Spero. “Our vision is to continue growing as a premier drug discovery and development organization focused on breakthrough anti-infective therapies. Our novel approaches to the major unmet need of Gram-negative infections show tremendous breadth and promise, and this financing round will fuel our continued growth in this very promising and rapidly growing field.”
Lundbeckfond Ventures’s Casper Breum and Merck’s Josh Resnick, M.D. will join the Spero Board, in addition to existing members Jean Francois Formela of Atlas Venture, Vikas Goyal of SROne, Milind Deshpande of Achillion Pharmaceuticals, and Dr. Mahadevia.
In a very short period of time, Spero has made significant progress with their strategy to leverage dramatic changes in the field of anti-infectives and create novel therapies to combat severe infections. Spero has also assembled a highly experienced scientific team that can sustainably and synergistically work across different mechanisms and with multiple collaborators,” said Casper Breum, Partner at Lundbeckfond Ventures. “We are thrilled to be working with a company that has the potential to fill such an important unmet medical need”.
Lundbeckfond Ventures is a part of the asset management subsidiary of The Lundbeck Foundation which in addition to substantial financial assets has controlling ownerships in H. Lundbeck A/S, ALK-Abelló A/S and Falck A/S. Lundbeckfond Ventures has an evergreen structure and invests around $60 million annually in life science companies. The Lundbeckfond Ventures team is located in Copenhagen, Denmark, and is active in both Europe and USA.
The Merck Research Ventures Fund is an investment vehicle through which Merck will help to shape the diversity and quality of external innovation, which may be captured through future partnerships and acquisitions. MRVF is jointly governed by an Investment Committee and a Scientific Management Approval Committee, each made up of senior Merck employees.
The Kraft Group is a privately owned, family-operated company with a strong commitment to customer focus. The company’s diverse interests are concentrated in five areas: paper/packaging manufacturing and forest products distribution; sports and entertainment; real estate development; private equity investing; and philanthropy. Run by the Kraft Family, the company is focused on creating value for every customer in an up close and personal way.