Spero Therapeutics said today it has acquired a next-generation set of antibacterial candidates from Pro Bono Bio (PBB) for an undisclosed price, in a deal designed to expand its pipeline of potential treatments against multidrug-resistant forms of Gram-negative bacteria.

“The acquisition of these antibacterial candidates from PBB demonstrates our commitment to finding new approaches to treat multidrug-resistant bacterial infections that continue to pose a serious threat to society,” Spero CEO Ankit Mahadevia, M.D., said in a statement.

The candidates were developed by a PBB company, Cantab Anti-Infectives. Spero said it will continue to work with Cantab to develop the acquired antibacterial compounds for treatment of multidrug-resistant strains of serious Gram-negative pathogens, such as Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Acinetobacter baumannii.

Spero said it will receive all intellectual property associated with Cantab's program in exchange for undisclosed up-front and milestone payments, as well as royalties upon commercialization of any candidates.

The Cantab program is currently substantially funded by the NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) through contract HHSN272201500014C, designed to evaluate the potential of the candidates against Gram-negative Category A and B pathogens NIAID has identified as possible diseases of public health concern.

“We believe that the antibacterial candidates discovered by Cantab have the potential to provide novel, safer alternatives to treat serious Gram-negative infections,” added PBB COO Michael Earl.

Spero is also looking to develop antibiotic combinations to treat multidrug-resistant Gram-negative pathogens through its anti-infective Potentiator program, for which the company in October won a $1.65 million award from the U.S. Department of Defense.

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