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BMS to test Vedanta’s bacterial therapy with Opdivo

Will be trialled in those with advanced or metastatic cancers

Vedanta

US biotech Vedanta has another partner for its microbiome therapy platform after agreeing to test its VE800 candidate alongside Bristol-Myers Squibb’s PD-1 inhibitor Opdivo.

The new collaboration will see VE800 – describe as a “rationally-defined consortium” of live bacteria – used alongside Opdivo (nivolumab) in a clinical trial involving patients with advanced or metastatic cancers.

PureTech Health subsidiary Vedanta specialises in developing bacterial consortia based on the organisms that naturally live in the human body, working on the premise that the organisms can impart healthful effects.

In the case of VE800, the biotech recently reported preclinical data suggesting that oral dosing of the bacterial cocktail led to the activation of interferon gamma-producing dendritic cells which in turn encouraged the production of CD8+ cytotoxic T cells and an anti-tumour immune response.

In animal studies presented at this year’s Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) meeting, VE800 on its own and alongside PD-1 inhibitors showed anti-tumour effects, including cytotoxic T cell infiltration into the cancer, suppression of tumour growth and extended survival.

For BMS, the alliance is just one of many seeking to find new cancer immunotherapy combinations that could build on its checkpoint inhibitor franchise, facing increasing competition from rival companies including Merck & Co/MSD. However, for Vedanta it is the second big pharma endorsement of its platform technology in a matter of weeks.

In November, a three-year collaboration with Johnson & Johnson (J&J) resulted in its first clinical trial, and a $12m milestone payment for Vedanta. The two companies have started treating patients in a phase 1 trial of VE202, another bacterial consortium aimed at treating inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

VE202 is based on the idea that IBD patients are deficient in certain Clostridia species in the gut, and as a result lack the T-regulatory cell component necessary for controlling inflammation.

Vedanta thinks it is the first company to take this rationally defined bacterial consortium concept into clinical trials, which it says is different to alternative approaches – based on probiotic cultures or faecal microbiota transplants – which it claims don’t tackle the underlying imbalance in bacterial species residing in the gut that contribute to disease.

BMS is making an undisclosed equity investment in Vedanta in connection with the VE800 alliance, but Vedanta retains rights to the programme.

Article by
Phil Taylor

10th December 2018

From: Research

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