Spero Therapeutics Joins ENABLE (European Gram-negative Antibacterial Engine) Project to Combat Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria

Spero Therapeutics Joins ENABLE (European Gram-negative Antibacterial Engine) Project to Combat Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria

September 06, 2016

ENABLE will provide non-dilutive resources for the development of its oral dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR) program

Cambridge, Massachusetts, September 6, 2016 — Spero Therapeutics, LLC, a biopharmaceutical company founded to develop novel therapies for the treatment of bacterial infections, announced they are joining the ENABLE (European Gram-Negative Antibacterial Engine) project, which focuses on the development of promising early-stage antimicrobial candidates to treat Gram-negative infections. ENABLE is one of seven projects under the New Drugs For Bad Bugs (ND4BB) program, which is part of the European private-public partnership Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI).

“Joining ENABLE strengthens our presence in Europe and reflects our commitment to the success of this important program to combat the global public health threat of antimicrobial resistance,” said Patrick Vink, M.D., Director Spero Therapeutics. “Our aggressive approach to building a pipeline of highly differentiated antibacterials has provided us core capabilities in optimizing drug targets for broad-spectrum potency, ADME (absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion) drug-like properties and safety. We believe that through these efforts and together with our collaborators, we have the potential to develop a drug candidate with antibacterial activity against antibiotic-resistant Gram-negative bacteria while retaining efficacy against key Gram-positive pathogens.”

To actively pursue its new role in the ENABLE project and facilitate its current European activities, Spero has opened a European office in the United Kingdom. This frontline presence will allow for a collaborative approach to select top clinical candidates for development from Spero’s series of oral dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR) inhibitors. The DHFR enzyme, essential for DNA synthesis across bacterial species, is a prime target for antibiotic development especially with the increasing issue of antibiotic resistance.

The newly opened European office also allows the Company to tap into the best global resources through ongoing engagement with leading European scientific advisors, including Professor David Livermore, a member of England’s Advisory Committee on Antimicrobial Resistance and Healthcare Associated Infection, and Professor Martti Vaara, M.D., Ph.D., former Chief and Head Physician of the Division of Clinical Microbiology at Helsinki University Hospital, Finland and CEO of Northern Antibiotics Ltd., located in Espoo, Finland.


Launched in early 2014, ENABLE is a project within the ND4BB program working to advance the development of potential antibiotics against multidrug resistant Gram-negative infections. ENABLE has been highlighted as a potential collaborator in the recent US National Action Plan for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria report issued by the White House in March 2015.


About ND4BB

IMI’s New Drugs 4 Bad Bugs (ND4BB) program represents an unprecedented partnership between industry, academia and biotech organizations to combat antibiotic resistance in Europe by tackling the scientific, regulatory and business challenges that are hampering the development of new antibiotics. It is made up of seven projects, including ENABLE.


About IMI

The Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) is working to improve health by speeding up the development of, and patient access to, innovative medicines, particularly in areas where there is an unmet medical or social need. It does this by facilitating collaboration between the key players involved in healthcare research, including universities, the pharmaceutical and other industries, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), patient organizations and medicines regulators. IMI is a partnership between the European Union (represented by the European Commission) and the European pharmaceutical industry (represented by EFPIA, the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations).


About DHFR

Dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR) is an enzyme in the biosynthetic pathway for intracellular tetrahydrofolic acid, which is essential in the synthesis of purines, some amino acids, and thymidine. Inhibition of DHFR depletes DNA precursors arresting DNA synthesis and cell division, leading to cell death. The prototypical DHFR inhibitor, trimethoprim is widely used in antibacterial therapy, most notably in combination with sulfamethoxazole, and marketed as Bactrim.

About Spero

Spero Therapeutics, headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is a product-focused biopharmaceutical company developing a pipeline of novel treatments for bacterial infections.  The company’s pipeline of anti-infective agents is one of the most unique in the industry. 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. The DHFR program is exploring a new approach to combatting drug resistance through expansion of a novel antifolate’s antibacterial spectrum to treat trimethoprim 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. Spero has recently joined international companies to call on governments and their industry to take comprehensive action against drug-resistant infections with a joint Declaration launched at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. This statement sets out for the first time how governments and industry need to work with one another to support sustained investment in the new products needed to beat the challenges of rising drug resistance. For more information, please visit https://sperotherapeutics.com.

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Maia Arnold, PhD
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