CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Vedanta Biosciences, an affiliate of PureTech Health (LSE: PRTC) developing a new category of therapies for immune and infectious diseases based on rationally designed consortia of human microbiome-derived bacteria, today announced that it has exclusively sub-licensed key intellectual property from JSR Corporation to develop and commercialize microbiome-derived cancer immunotherapies based on live biotherapeutics. These live biotherapeutics have been shown to activate CD8+ T cells, a type of white blood cell that is the predominant effector in cancer immunotherapy. The sub-licensed intellectual property is based on the pioneering research of Dr. Kenya Honda, Professor, of Keio University School of Medicine and his collaborators in the University of Tokyo in Japan. An IND filing for the lead product candidate is planned in 2018.
“Dr. Honda’s research suggests an entirely new approach to cancer immunotherapy harnessing the human microbiome, which has the potential to significantly enhance the effectiveness of cancer therapies,” said Bernat Olle, PhD, Chief Executive Officer of Vedanta Biosciences. “We are actively developing product candidates containing defined bacterial consortia that activate CD8+ T cells and stimulate the immune system to fight cancer alone and in combination with checkpoint inhibitors. This license to additional intellectual property from Dr. Honda’s institution further strengthens Vedanta’s leading IP position in the microbiome field.”
In validated pre-clinical models of cancer, Vedanta’s orally administered product candidates containing defined bacterial consortia induced CD8+ T cells, potentiating the immune system’s attack of tumor cells. The tumor fighting effects of a variety of checkpoint inhibitors were significantly amplified when combined with the bacterial consortia, suggesting a potentially novel approach for combination cancer immunotherapy.
About Key Intellectual Properties
Keio University and The University of Tokyo joined the Leading Advanced Projects for Medical Innovation (“LEAP”), part of Advanced Research and Development Programs for Medical Innovation at The Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development (“AMED”), in 2016. Their research and development is focused on the development of therapeutic cocktails of bacteria isolated from the gut microbiota. The licensed intellectual properties were developed as a part of the AMED-LEAP Research Program and are exclusively licensed to JSR Corporation (TSE: JSR) from Keio University and The University of Tokyo.
About Vedanta Biosciences
Vedanta Biosciences is pioneering development of a novel class of therapies for immune and infectious diseases based on rationally designed consortia of bacteria derived from the human microbiome, with clinical trials expected to begin in the second half of 2017. An affiliate of PureTech Health (PureTech Health plc, PRTC.L), Vedanta’s founding team includes a group of world-renowned experts in immunology and microbiology. Vedanta Biosciences is a leader in the microbiome field with capabilities and deep expertise to discover, develop and manufacture drugs based on live bacterial consortia. Leveraging its proprietary technology platform and the expertise of its team of scientific co-founders, Vedanta Biosciences has isolated and maintains the largest collection of human microbiome-associated bacterial strains and has characterized, in collaborations with leading experts, how the immune system recognizes and responds to these microbes. This pioneering work has led to the identification of human commensal bacteria that induce a range of immune responses – including induction of regulatory T cells, CD8+ T cells, and Th17 cells, among others – as well as the characterization of novel molecular mechanisms of microbial-host communication. These advances have been published in leading peer-reviewed journals including Science, Nature (multiple), Cell and Nature Immunology. Vedanta Biosciences has harnessed these biological insights, its proprietary library of microbiome-derived bacterial strains, as well as data from clinical translational collaborations, to generate a pipeline of programs addressing infectious diseases, autoimmune diseases, inflammation and immune-oncology indications.
Vedanta Biosciences’ scientific co-founders have pioneered the fields of innate immunity, Th17 and regulatory T cell biology, and include Dr. Ruslan Medzhitov (Professor of Immunobiology at Yale), Dr. Alexander Rudensky (tri-institutional Professor at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Institute, the Rockefeller University and Cornell University), Dr. Dan Littman (Professor of Molecular Immunology at NYU), Dr. Brett Finlay (Professor at the University of British Columbia) and Dr. Kenya Honda (Professor, Keio University School of Medicine). Vedanta is backed by Seventure, Invesco Asset Management, and Rock Springs Capital and has collaborations with leading institutions including Janssen Biotech, Inc., NYU Langone Medical Center, Stanford University School of Medicine, Leiden University Medical Center, University of Tokyo, Keio University, and RIKEN.
Forward Looking Statement
This press release contains statements that are or may be forward-looking statements, including statements that relate to the company's future prospects, developments and strategies. The forward-looking statements are based on current expectations and are subject to known and unknown risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results, performance and achievements to differ materially from current expectations, including, but not limited to, those risks and uncertainties described in the risk factors included in the regulatory filings for PureTech Health plc. These forward-looking statements are based on assumptions regarding the present and future business strategies of the company and the environment in which it will operate in the future. Each forward-looking statement speaks only as at the date of this press release. Except as required by law and regulatory requirements, neither the company nor any other party intends to update or revise these forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.