VC-backed Qpex Biopharma names chief business officer

Qpex Biopharma Inc, a developer of anti-infective therapies, has appointed Paul Westberg as chief business officer.

Qpex Biopharma Inc, a developer of anti-infective therapies, has appointed Paul Westberg as chief business officer. Prior to joining Qpex, Westberg was most recently the chief business officer at Versartis. Qpex’s backers include New Enterprise Associates, Adams Street Partners, LYZZ Capital, Hatteras Venture Partners and Stanford University Daper Fund.

PRESS RELEASE

SAN DIEGO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Qpex Biopharma, Inc. (Qpex), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery and development of innovative anti-infective therapies, announced the appointment of Paul Westberg as chief business officer. He will be responsible for the company’s corporate development activities and oversee the formulation of commercial strategies for the Company’s product portfolio.

Qpex also announced the exercise of a $15 million option from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), part of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, to support the advancement of its anti-infective portfolio into the clinic.

“Paul is an accomplished biotech executive who brings deep industry experience and comprehensive expertise to Qpex,” said Michael Dudley, Pharm.D., president and chief executive officer of Qpex Biopharma. “His leadership and passion for advancing medicines that improve the lives of people will bolster our business and market planning initiatives. Paul’s addition, along with BARDA’s ongoing support, positions us strongly as we advance three products in clinical studies in 2021.”

Mr. Westberg brings more than 20 years of corporate and business development, strategy, financing and operations experience in biopharmaceutical companies to Qpex. He has successfully led all types of transactions and played an integral role in raising more than $500 million in capital.

“The COVID-19 pandemic highlights the impact and challenges related to the spread of an infectious disease and further underscores the critical need to combat antimicrobial resistant pathogens,” said Mr. Westberg. “I am privileged to join the Qpex team and contribute to our mission of bringing innovative therapies to patients and our public health system.”

Prior to joining Qpex, Mr. Westberg was most recently the chief business officer at Versartis, where he oversaw the company’s corporate development strategy, closed multiple pharmaceutical partnerships based on the XTENTM technology platform, and played a critical role in raising capital and market planning activities through the full range of clinical development. Before Versartis, he was vice president of business development at Bayhill Therapeutics, where he closed a transformational licensing deal with Genentech/Roche and played a key role in its fundraising and product planning activities.

Earlier in his career, Mr. Westberg served in business development and finance roles at Novacea, Deltagen, Collabra Pharma, Aviron, and held positions of increasing responsibility at Genentech. Mr. Westberg received his MBA from the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley and his BA in Applied Mathematics from the University of California, San Diego.

About the Qpex Biopharma Pipeline
Qpex Biopharma is developing three programs focused on the treatment of ESBL and carbapenemase-producing pathogens including Acinetobacter spp., Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Enterobacteriaceae that the Center for Disease Control (CDC) considers serious or urgent antimicrobial resistance threats. The World Health Organization (WHO) has also prioritized development of new treatments for these pathogens. Qpex’s portfolio is intended to comprehensively address patient needs in both the inpatient and outpatient settings and includes:
· ​OMNIvanceTM: an IV-administered QPX7728-based product (currently in Phase 1) with best-in-class coverage of key pathogens, including carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter, Enterobacteriaceae and Pseudomonas.
· ORAvanceTM: an orally administered combination product based on QPX7728 to treat infections that occur in the outpatient and community setting caused by drug-resistant gram-negative bacteria, including extended-spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL) and carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriaceae.
· QPX9003: a next-generation IV-administered synthetic polymyxin with an enhanced therapeutic profile designed to address highly drug-resistant infections caused by Pseudomonas and Acinetobacter.

About Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) Partnership
Qpex scientists and clinicians have an extensive track-record of successfully working with public-private partnerships, including a partnership with BARDA that led to the first approved antimicrobial drug product under that program in 2017. Qpex’s current collaboration with BARDA is focused on advancing a portfolio of novel antibiotics, including the QPX7728-based products OMNIvance and ORAvance. The development of the products in Qpex’s portfolio is funded in whole or in part with federal funds from the Department of Health and Human Services; Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response; Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), under OTA number HHSO100201600026C. To date, BARDA has provided $67 million and technical support. If all options are awarded, the agreement would provide up to $132 million in support for the development of a portfolio of new antibiotics to fight drug-resistant gram-negative infections.

About Qpex Biopharma
Qpex Biopharma, Inc. is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company with a pipeline of best-in-class agents addressing critical needs for the treatment of infectious diseases in both the inpatient and outpatient settings. The company’s lead program is based upon QPX7728, a novel ultra-broad-spectrum beta-lactamase inhibitor discovered by Qpex scientists. Qpex was launched in 2018 with investments from New Enterprise Associates, Adams Street Partners, LYZZ Capital, Hatteras Venture Partners, and Stanford University Daper Fund as well as funding provided through an agreement with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA). Qpex has a multi-product collaboration with Brii Biosciences for the development and commercialization of three of its products in greater China. For more information, please visit www.qpexbio.com.