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Spero Therapeutics Appoints Thomas Parr, Ph.D. as Chief Scientific Officer

Companies mentioned in this article: Spero Therapeutics, LLC

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Spero Therapeutics, LLC, a biopharmaceutical company founded to develop novel therapies targeting virulence and persistence, for treatment of bacterial infections, today announced that Thomas “Tom” Parr, Ph.D. has joined the company as Chief Scientific Officer. Dr. Parr is a highly regarded microbiologist with more than 25 years of drug discovery experience across both large pharmaceutical and small biotechnology companies. The company also announced its Scientific Advisory Board (SAB). This world-renowned group of scientists brings expertise in key areas that will be invaluable in transitioning Spero’s portfolio of first-in-class anti-infectives for severe, drug-resistant infections from discovery into clinical trials.

"Tom is a talented CSO who brings to Spero substantial scientific experience in anti-infectives from discovery through commercial development," said Ankit Mahadevia, M.D., Venture Partner at Atlas Venture and Spero’s President. “As rates of bacterial resistance even to last-line antibiotics continue to rise, we look forward to Tom’s contributions to our senior management team so we may aggressively pursue the development of treatments for this evolving public health emergency.”

"We are very pleased to bring together these key thought leaders to establish the Spero Scientific Advisory Board," stated Dr. Parr. "Their deep insight in antimicrobial medicinal chemistry and in vitro and in vivo microbiology will be instrumental in advancing our therapeutic programs into clinical development. Further, the interest and direct participation of these world-class scientists on our SAB reflects the progress we're making in the discovery of new anti-infective therapies that must overcome existing drug resistance mechanisms and both limit the damage caused by the infection and promote its clearance."

Prior to joining Spero, Dr. Parr was the Chief Scientific Officer at Fedora Pharmaceuticals when the company was directing novel beta-lactamase inhibitors toward development partnerships. Earlier, he was the Chief Scientific Officer at Targanta Therapeutics, now part of The Medicines Company. While at Targanta, Dr. Parr was instrumental in progressing the lipoglycopeptide, oritavancin through to registration meetings with the FDA and EMA. Dr. Parr has worked on a broad range of marketed and experimental antibiotics including beta-lactams (cefaclor, loracarbef, cefuroxime axetil, cephalexin, moxalactam, ceftazidime, cefazolin, RWJ-333441); glycopeptides (vancomycin and oritavancin); lipodepsipeptides (daptomycin); aminoglycosides (tobramycin); quinolones (cinoxacin); macrolides (dirythromycin); and antimicrobial peptides (iseganins).

Dr. Parr earned his Ph.D. from the University of Calgary and was an MRC postdoctoral fellow at the University of British Columbia. He was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Biochemistry at the University of Ottawa before beginning his drug discovery and development career.

Chaired by Dr. Laurence Rahme, the members of the Spero Scientific Advisory Board include the following:

  • Laurence Rahme, M.S., Ph.D., is the Spero Scientific Founder and 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 is also affiliated with the Departments of Molecular Biology and Division of Infectious Diseases. Dr. Rahme 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.
  • Paul Ambrose, Pharm. D. President of the Institute for Clinical Pharmacodynamics (ICPD), Latham, New York. He is also an Honorary Research Fellow in Infectious Diseases at the University of Oxford, Oxford, UK and Adjunct Associate Research Professor at the University at Buffalo, Buffalo, New York. Dr. Ambrose is an expert in anti-infective translational science, with the goal of improving patient care through the application of pharmacokinetic-pharmacodynamic (PK-PD) principles.
  • Gordon Archer, M.D. is the Senior Associate Dean for Research and Research Training in the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine where he directs both the M.D.-Ph.D. combined degree and the Ph.D. pre-doctoral programs. Dr. Archer is an expert in the study of staphylococci and, specifically antimicrobial resistance in staphylococci with a focus on antibiotic resistance gene exchange and plasmid biology.
  • George L. Drusano, M.D. is Professor of Medicine and Director, Institute for Therapeutic Innovation of the University of Florida. He has more than 290 peer-reviewed articles and is a leader in the understanding of mathematical modeling and pharmacodynamics for anti-infective chemotherapy.
  • Jacques Dumas, Ph.D. Chief Scientific Officer at Idenix (Cambridge, Mass.), a public company focused on antiviral therapies, for which he oversees all aspects of discovery and non-clinical development. Preivously, Jacques was Vice President and Head of Strategy for Infectious Diseases at Astrazeneca. Dr. Dumas is a medicinal chemist with expertise in infectious disease and oncology. He is co-inventor of Nexavar and Stivarga, two approved oncology drugs.
  • Eric Gordon, PhD 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.
  • Brad Spellberg, M.D. is Professor of Medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. He is also the Associate Medical Director for Inpatient Services and an Associate Program Director for the Internal Medicine Residency Training Program at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. Dr. Spellberg is an expert in immunology, vaccinology, and host defense against highly resistant Gram negative bacilli, including Acinetobacter and carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae infections.
  • Glenn Tillotson, Ph.D. is a pharmaceutical industry executive with extensive experience ranging from clinical research, to commercialization, medical affairs, scientific communications including publication planning, strategic drug development, life cycle management and global launch programs. Dr. Tillotson is an expert in the development of anti-invectives including ciprofloxacin, moxifloxacin, gemifloxacin and fidaxomicin.

About Spero

Spero is a product-focused biopharmaceutical company developing novel treatments for bacterial infections and is located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Spero is taking a novel approach that works differently from existing antibiotics by targeting a pathway involved in two critical bacterial processes: virulence and persistence. Spero’s 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. For more information, please visit www.sperotherapeutics.com.


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Contact:

Spero Therapeutics
Ankit Mahadevia, M.D.
Venture Partner at Atlas Ventures
or
Suda Communications LLC
Maureen L. Suda (Media), 585-387-9248