Seres and AztraZeneca exploring microbiome for cancer treatment

Sanofi & Alnylam conclude research & option phase of 2014 alliance
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Seres Therapeutics is embarking on a three-year research collaboration with AstraZeneca exploring the potential of microbiome therapeutics to augment immuno-oncology treatment for cancer.

Preclinical and early clinical evidence suggests that the composition of the gastrointestinal microbiome impacts clinical response to checkpoint inhibitor immunotherapy and supports the hypothesis that modification of the microbiome may improve outcomes.

These data provide strong support for continued research to further understand the microbiome as a predictor of response to checkpoint inhibitors and to elucidate the potential of microbiome therapeutics to augment immunotherapy.

Under the collaboration, research will evaluate microbiome-based approaches as a predictor for which patients may respond best to certain cancer immunotherapies.

Additionally, SER-401, an investigational microbiome therapeutic, may be studied in combination with AstraZeneca compounds targeting various cancers.

The collaboration will apply Seres’ microbiome drug discovery and manufacturing expertise with AstraZeneca’s extensive oncology experience to evaluate the potential for microbiome therapy to improve clinical response when used in conjunction with adjunctive pharmaceutical approaches.

Jean-Charles Soria, Senior Vice President, R&D Oncology at AstraZeneca, said: “Despite progress in the field of immunotherapy, we are only at the tip of the iceberg.

“Too many patients are still unable to benefit from existing therapies, so we must continue following the science in pursuit of new and innovative solutions.”

AstraZeneca will provide Seres with $20 million in three equal instalments over two years, with the first payment due at the start of the agreement.

In addition, AstraZeneca will also reimburse Seres for research activity related to the collaboration.

Seres will maintain rights to oncology targeted microbiome therapeutic candidates, and AstraZeneca will obtain the option to negotiate for rights to those programs and other inventions arising out of the collaboration.