CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Vedanta Biosciences, an affiliate of PureTech Health (LSE: PRTC) developing a new category of therapies for immune-mediated and infectious diseases based on rationally designed consortia of human microbiome-derived bacteria, today announced new translational medicine collaborations in cancer immunotherapy with Leiden University Medical Center and the University of South Alabama (USA) Mitchell Cancer Institute. The Company also today announced the expansion of its translational medicine collaboration in cancer immunotherapy with NYU Langone Health and its Perlmutter Cancer Center. Researchers at these institutions have been collaborating with Vedanta Biosciences to analyze microbiome clinical data from interventional checkpoint inhibitor studies to identify microbiome signatures associated with response to immunotherapy and key mechanisms through which the gut microbiota modulate immunotherapeutic responses.
“Data from our ongoing clinical collaborations in melanoma show that gut bacteria signatures could help determine if a cancer immunotherapy will work,” said Bruce Roberts, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer of Vedanta Biosciences. “We’re pleased to expand our research collaborations into others forms of cancer, with the ultimate goal of identifying ways to change the microbiome to increase the proportion of patients and types of cancer patients who respond to immunotherapies.”
Under the agreement with Leiden University Medical Center, Vedanta Biosciences will work in collaboration with Ellen Kapiteijn, M.D., Ph.D., and Ed Kuijper, M.D., Ph.D., to understand the role of the microbiome in immunotherapeutic responses against a variety of cancers, including melanoma, head and neck, and bladder. The new collaboration with the USA Mitchell Cancer Center, led by Art Frankel, M.D., will analyze associations between the gut microbiome and responses to checkpoint inhibitor treatment in melanoma and cancers of the bladder and kidneys. Building on the existing translational work with NYU Langone in melanoma led by Jeffrey S. Weber, M.D., Ph.D., and Melissa Wilson, M.D., Ph.D., the expanded agreement adds collaborations in bladder cancer and lung cancer, led, respectively, by Arjun V. Balar, M.D., and Leena Gandhi, M.D., Ph.D.
Vedanta Biosciences’ immuno-oncology programs include lead product candidate, VE800, which has been shown in preclinical models to activate CD8+ T cells, a type of white blood cell that is the predominant effector in cancer immunotherapy, improve CD8+ T cell tumor infiltration, and improve survival in several cancer models in combination with checkpoint inhibitors. Vedanta anticipates filing an investigational new drug application (IND) for this candidate in 2018.
About Vedanta Biosciences
Vedanta Biosciences is pioneering development of a new category of therapies for immune-mediated 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. The Company’s facilities include integrated manufacturing operations providing cGMP-compliant manufacturing of rationally-designed bacterial consortia in powder form. 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 Health and its Perlmutter Cancer Center, Stanford University School of Medicine, Leiden University Medical Center, University of Tokyo, Keio University, RIKEN, and the University of South Alabama Mitchell Cancer Institute.