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 defined consortia of human microbiome-derived bacteria, today announced that it has received funding from the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to finding the cures for Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. The funds will be used to advance Vedanta Biosciences’ new microbiome-derived therapeutic program for the treatment and potential interception of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). This program is being advanced in collaboration with Dr. Kenya Honda, M.D., Ph.D., Professor, Keio University School of Medicine and a scientific co-founder of Vedanta Biosciences.
“As the first commercial organization to be awarded funding under the auspices of the Foundation’s newly-launched Entrepreneurial Investing Initiative, we are excited about the potential of Vedanta’s research to bring microbiome-derived therapies to our patients,” said Michael Osso, President & CEO of the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation. “Foundation-led research has helped to determine that the gut microbiome is a key link between genetic susceptibility and the onset and progression of IBD. Vedanta’s pioneering work has promise to advance discoveries in this area toward new therapeutic options for patients with IBD.”
This new IBD program, wholly owned by Vedanta Biosciences, aims to target pathogenic bacterial strains, particularly abundant in Crohn’s disease, that may lead to the onset of IBD. IBD is believed to result from interactions between genetic factors and environmental triggers, such as commensal bacteria with pathogenic potential (pathobionts). In foundational work recently published in Science, Dr. Honda’s group showed in preclinical studies that colonization with the pathobiont Klebsiella pneumoniae activates pro-inflammatory T helper 1 cells in the gut, resulting in intestinal inflammation and leading to onset of IBD. In ongoing preclinical work, Vedanta Biosciences has identified consortia of beneficial gut bacteria that can potentially target and decolonize Klebsiella.
“Dr. Honda’s research suggests an entirely new approach to help IBD patients by specific elimination of pro-inflammatory bacteria. We believe this approach could potentially be harnessed to both treat IBD as well as intercept the progression of the disease in its early stages or before diagnosis,” said Bernat Olle, Ph.D., Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Vedanta Biosciences. “We are grateful to the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation for their support and for the opportunity to work closely with patient groups to find a cure for IBD.”
In addition to this program, Vedanta Biosciences previously announced a partnership with Janssen Biotech, Inc. for the development of drug candidate VE202 in IBD. VE202 is based on a rationally defined consortium of bacteria with immunoregulatory properties. VE202 is expected to enter the clinic in the second half of 2018.
About Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is estimated to affect 1.6 million people in the United States, with as many as 70,000 new cases of the disease diagnosed each year. The exact cause of IBD is not entirely understood, but it is associated with chronic inflammation in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, impairing the ability of affected GI organs to function properly. Symptoms can vary but include diarrhea, abdominal pain, cramping, rectal bleeding, and fatigue. Currently available medications alleviate inflammation and reduce symptoms, but do not provide a cure or prevent long-term complications.
About the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation
The Crohn's & Colitis Foundation is the largest non-profit, voluntary, health organization dedicated to finding cures for inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). The Foundation’s mission is to cure Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, and to improve the quality of life of children and adults who are affected by these diseases. The Foundation works to fulfill its mission by funding research; providing educational resources for patients and their families, medical professionals, and the public; and furnishing supportive services for those afflicted with IBD. For more information visit http://www.crohnscolitisfoundation.org/ call 888-694-8872, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Vedanta Biosciences
Vedanta Biosciences is a clinical-stage company developing a new category of therapies for immune-mediated and infectious diseases based on rationally defined consortia of human microbiome-derived bacteria. An affiliate of PureTech Health (PureTech Health plc, PRTC.L), Vedanta Biosciences is a leader in the microbiome field with capabilities and deep expertise to discover, develop, and manufacture live bacteria drugs. These include what is believed to be the largest collection of human microbiome-associated bacterial strains, a suite of proprietary assays to select pharmacologically potent strains, vast proprietary datasets from human interventional studies, and facilities for cGMP-compliant manufacturing of rationally-defined bacterial consortia in powder form. Vedanta Biosciences’ pioneering work, in collaboration with its scientific co-founders, 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. These advances have been published in leading peer-reviewed journals including Science (multiple), Nature (multiple), Cell and Nature Immunology. Vedanta Biosciences has harnessed these biological insights and its capabilities to generate a pipeline of programs in infectious disease, autoimmune disease, allergy, and immune-oncology.
Vedanta Biosciences’ scientific co-founders are world-renowned experts in immunology and microbiology who have pioneered the fields of innate immunity, Th17 and regulatory T cell biology, and include Dr. Ruslan Medzhitov (Yale and Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI)), Dr. Brett Finlay (University of British Columbia and HHMI), Dr. Kenya Honda (inventor of Vedanta Biosciences’ lead product candidate; Keio University and RIKEN), Dr. Dan Littman (New York University and HHMI), Dr. Alexander Rudensky (Sloan Kettering and HHMI), and Dr. Jeremiah Faith (Mount Sinai School of Medicine).
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