The Brave New World of Microbiome-based Therapies

The Brave New World of Microbiome-based Therapies

Publication date: Feb 12, 2020

Examples of work in the field include recent research that discovered that the lungs and placentas of fetuses in the womb, as young as 11 weeks after conception, have bacterial microbiome signatures, suggesting bacteria colonize the lungs before birth.

And in October 2019, 4D Pharma, based in Leeds, UK, partnered with U. S.-based Merck & Co. to develop Live Biotherapeutics vaccines.

Live Biotherapeutics are a new class of medicines made up of strains of gut long-term bacteria originally isolated from healthy human donors.

Under the terms of the deal, 4D will use its proprietary MicroRx platform with Merck’s expertise in novel vaccine development and commercialization to discover and develop Live Biotherapeutics (LBPs) as vaccines in up to three currently undisclosed indications.

-This research collaboration agreement brings together 4D’s innovation in the microbiome space and [Merck’s] track record of developing cutting-edge vaccines,” said Duncan Peyton, 4D’s chief executive officer.

-[Merck] and 4D have worked closely combining world-leading science to develop a workplan to advance the understanding of this field, with the aim of generating a new class of vaccines in areas of high unmet need. “

4D currently has four clinical trials in progress: a Phase II study of Blautix in Irritable Bowel Syndrome; a Phase I/II trial of MRx0518 in combination with Merck’s Keytruda (pembrolizumab) in solid tumors; a Phase I trial of MRx0518 in a neoadjuvant setting for solid tumors; and a Phase I/II study of MRx-4DP0004 in asthma.

By focusing on what’s coming out of patients’ rear ends, a growing body of scientific research over the last 15 years has highlighted the crucial role the microbiome plays in human health. “

But some of the work is focused on that, and a 2013 New England Journal of Medicine paper showed in a clinical trial that 94% of recurrent C. diffpatients recovered after receiving a microbiome-derived therapy, basically a live fecal transplant of C. diff.

Gbola Amusa, a physician and partner at Chardan, a healthcare-focused, New York-based investment bank, estimates the total amount of investment in microbiome research companies exceed $5 billion since 2014.

Mark Zuckerberg, of Facebook, has also donated, as have Gates and Benioff, into microbiome research at Stanford, Washington University in St. Louis, and the University of California, San Francisco.

Chris Howerton, a Jefferies biotechnology analyst, told Forbes, -If every single microbiome paper turns into a proven therapy, it could impact the drug markets for most major categories of disease, which together were worth $350 billion in 2018 in the U. S. alone.

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Semantics

Type Source Name
disease MESH gastrointestinal diseases
disease MESH colitis
disease MESH lung diseases
disease MESH neurodegenerative diseases
disease MESH fetuses
disease MESH development
disease MESH asthma
pathway KEGG Asthma
disease MESH Irritable Bowel Syndrome
drug DRUGBANK Pembrolizumab
disease MESH tumors
drug DRUGBANK Silicon
disease MESH infections
disease MESH ulcerative colitis
disease MESH autism
drug DRUGBANK Nivolumab

Original Article

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