Merck, New England Patriots boss part of investment team for ABX start up
- A group of investors, including Robret Kraft (CEO of the group that owns the New England Patriots football team), Merck, and other venture capitalists are investing $30 million in Spero, a start-up devoted to developing next-gen antibiotics.
- Spero, based in Cambridge, MA, was founded in 2013.
- Spero's primary focus is on developing antibiotics for treatment of infections caused by multi-drug--reistant organisms (MDROs).
Not long ago, anitbiotic R&D was considered unsexy, cumbersome, and minimally lucrative. But times have changed, as the federal government has put policies in place to support development of antibiotics, including the 2012 Generating Antibiotics Incentives Now (GAIN) Act. With a series of policies designed to expedite the approval process, companies such as Merck are agressively investing in the antibiotics space, including its purchase of Cubist Pharmaceuticals for $9.5 billion in late 2014.
Spero is using the Series A financing investment to continue its development programs, one of which focuses on combating gram-negative bacteria, for which very few treatments have been developed in recent years.
In addition, Spero is collaborating with Roche on a separate program, while also planning to double its workforce from 10 people to 20 people within the coming year.