Seres Therapeutics, Inc., announced the initiation of two academic research collaborations to further develop the company’s microbiome therapeutics platform as a treatment for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Under the agreements, the company will work with teams at the Research Institute of St. Joseph’s Hamilton, Canada, and the Medical University of Graz, Austria.
Seres’ drug pipeline includes SER-287, the first microbiome therapeutic candidate to reach clinical-stage development in a chronic disease. Developed and manufactured as an oral capsule, SER-287 is currently in an ongoing Phase 1b study (NCT02618187) in patients with mild-to-moderate ulcerative colitis. Preclinical data from studies with multiple animal models of ulcerative colitis showed that the drug was able to reduce disease pathology.
SER-287 is one of Seres’ Ecobiotic drugs developed using the company’s proprietary microbiome therapeutics platform. The platform consists of combinations of selected microbes designed to restore a healthy microbiome in individuals with an unhealthy microbiota balance, which can lead to diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), including ulcerative colitis. SER-301, a preclinical stage therapeutic composed of bacterial species cultured in vitro, is also part of the pipeline.
Investigators at the two institutes and other research organizations have demonstrated that repetitive fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) resulted in clinical remission in certain ulcerative colitis patients, highlighting a potential therapeutic role for microbiome-modifying drugs.
Under the partnership terms, Seres will acquire donor and patient samples from completed and ongoing FMT clinical studies, and perform a series of analyses on these samples to better characterize the microbiome changes associated with clinical responses.
“While we believe repetitive fecal transplantation is not a viable long-term clinical solution for patients suffering from IBD, FMT studies have provided compelling evidence that modification of the microbiome can lead to meaningfully improved clinical outcomes. Seres is pleased to be collaborating with some of the leading academic research groups in this important work. We are well positioned to learn from these studies, which we expect will provide important insights into the design of SER-301,” Dr. David Cook, executive vice president of R&D and chief scientific officer of Seres, said in a press release.