With $33 million in new series A funding, a portfolio of preclinical assets from The Medicines Co. (NASDAQ:MDCO) and a BARDA deal, Qpex Biopharma Inc. (San Diego, Calif.) hopes to begin clinical studies of multiple programs designed to combat antimicrobial resistance.
New Enterprise Associates led the tranched round. Also participating were Adams Street Partners, LYZZ Capital, Hatteras Venture Partners and Stanford University Draper Fund.
Qpex has acquired from Medicines Co. a pipeline of preclinical programs for infectious diseases, as well as β lactamase inhibitor technology. Terms of the deal are undisclosed, and Qpex President and CEO Michael Dudley declined to disclose clinical timelines or indications for the assets.
The start-up also has a deal with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority to develop antibiotics against drug-resistant Gram-negative infections. The initial award to Medicines Co. was for $32 million in 2016, with Qpex eligible for up to an additional $100 million.
Qpex's management team includes former executives from Medicines Co.’s infectious disease unit, who came on board when that company acquired infectious disease company Rempex Pharmaceuticals Inc. in 2013. Dudley was Rempex's SVP of R&D and CSO, while Qpex Executive Chairman Daniel Burgess was its CEO. Both were also executives at Mpex Pharmaceuticals Inc., which Axcan Pharma Inc. acquired in 2011; Axcan is now part of Allergan plc (NYSE:AGN) (see "Mpex Reprise").
Medicines Co. sold its clinical anti-infectives pipeline along with several marketed products to Melinta Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ:MLNT) in January (see "Melinta Acquires Medicines Co.'s Infectious Disease Unit").
Qpex’s A round has two tranches; details are not disclosed.
Assistant Editor Virginia Li contributed to this report.