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Spero Formed to Develop First-in-Class Therapeutics for Drug-Resistant Bacterial Infections

Companies mentioned in this article: Spero Therapeutics, LLC

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Spero Therapeutics, LLC, a biopharmaceutical company founded to develop novel therapies for treatment of bacterial infections, has entered into an antibiotics partnership with Roche.

“We founded Spero with the idea that novel treatment approaches and a world-class team could address the very high unmet need in bacterial infections,” said Ankit Mahadevia, MD, Venture Partner at Atlas Venture and Spero’s Acting President. “We are particularly pleased to be partnering with Roche on our first program. The Roche team’s commitment to developing first-in-class therapies in the invigorated field of antibacterials makes them an ideal partner for Spero as we expand our efforts in this area.”

Spero was founded in April 2013 by Dr. Mahadevia in collaboration with the Partners Innovation Fund, and supported by the Atlas Venture seed program. Atlas Venture, SR One, and Partners Innovation Fund have invested in the company’s $3MM Series A Financing. Jean-François Formela, MD, Atlas Venture Partner, Vikas Goyal of SR One, Reza Halse, PhD, Partners Innovation Fund Partner, and Milind Deshpande, PhD, CEO of Achillion Pharmaceuticals, have joined the Spero Board with Dr. Mahadevia.

There is a tremendous unmet need for new therapies that can address infections resistant to current antibiotics. Rates of bacterial resistance even to last-line antibiotics continue to rise, rendering many established therapies ineffective in community and hospital settings. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, each year over two million patients in the US alone will fall ill from antibiotic resistant bacteria and at least 23,000 will die from these infections.

The company’s first program extends from the work of Dr. Laurence Rahme, scientific founder of Spero, a leader in bacterial pathogenesis research, and Associate Professor at Massachusetts General Hospital. Spero is developing an inhibitor of a novel target that controls the virulence and persistence of Gram-negative bacteria such as Pseudomonas Aeruginosa. “Virulence- and persistence-targeted approaches have the potential to make a major impact in the field of anti-microbials, and I am delighted to collaborate with Spero on this effort,” said Dr. Rahme. Preclinical studies have demonstrated the approach’s potential to treat acute bacterial infections and prevent chronic persistence of pathogens in infection sites. The approach is unique from traditional antibiotics in its potential to pose a lower risk of driving rapid emergence of resistance and impacting the human microbiome.

Roche is providing non-dilutive R&D funding to Spero, and will have the option to acquire Spero’s lead program at the IND (Investigational New Drug) application phase, at pre-negotiated terms including an upfront payment and milestones.

About Spero

Spero is a product-focused biopharmaceutical company developing novel treatments for bacterial infections and is located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. For more information, please visit www.sperotherapeutics.com.

About Atlas Venture

Atlas Venture is a leading early-stage venture capital firm that invests in technology and life sciences companies. Since inception in 1980, Atlas has helped build over 350 companies in more than 16 different countries. Atlas Venture is currently investing from its ninth fund and manages over $2 billion in capital. For more information, please visit: www.atlasventure.com.

About SR One

SR One is the independent corporate venture capital arm of GlaxoSmithKline. The firm invests globally in emerging life science companies that are pursuing innovative science which will significantly impact medical care. Since 1985, SR One has invested approximately $700 million in more than 140 companies, and its current portfolio includes over 30 private and public companies. For more information, visit www.srone.com.

About PIF

The Partners Innovation Fund is the strategic venture fund for Partners HealthCare, founded by the Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women's Hospital. The mission of the fund is to provide the necessary support to commercialize innovations in medical informatics, diagnostics, drugs and devices that emerge from the Partners HealthCare investigator community.


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Atlas Venture
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matt@atlasventure.com