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Macrolide Pharma Raises $20M, Names Former Intarcia Exec Karande CEO

Xconomy Boston — 

Macrolide Pharmaceuticals has a new chief executive to spearhead the company’s antibiotics development efforts, which are now backed by $20 million in fresh capital.

Mahesh Karande is taking the helm of Watertown, MA-based Macrolide as president and CEO. He most recently served as vice president and general manager of Intarcia Therapeutics, based in Boston. Karande’s experience also includes various roles at Novartis (NYSE: NVS), including serving as the company’s U.S. oncology business head for breast and renal solid tumors.

The round of financing was co-led by earlier investors Advent Life Sciences, Gurnet Point Capital, Novartis Venture Fund, Roche Ventures, and SR One. Macrolide says it will use the cash, combined with $6.8 million awarded late last month from the public-private CARB-X consortium, to ramp up development of its lead antibiotic as it works toward testing the drug in humans.

As the company’s name suggests, Macrolide develops macrolides, a class of antibiotic that has been used for decades to treat infections such as community-acquired bacterial pneumonia. But macrolides haven’t worked in treating gram-negative bacteria, which have a tough cellular wall that helps them resist antibiotics. Macrolide Pharma is developing new macrolide drugs that it hopes can tackle gram-negative bacteria and treat a wide range of drug-resistant infectious diseases.

Macrolide Pharma’s research is based on technology licensed from Harvard University. The company was launched in 2015, backed by a $22 million Series A financing round that included participation from three large pharmaceutical companies. Here’s more on Macrolide Pharma’s origins.

Photo of E. coli bacteria on petri plate selective for gram negative bacteria by Flickr user Anthony D’Onofrio via a Creative Commons license.