Finch Therapeutics and Takeda Pharmaceutical are joining forces to develop a treatment for Crohn’s disease — expanding their partnership in their development program for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), which includes an ulcerative colitis treatment candidate.
The expanded agreement calls for microbiome-based treatment development using Finch’s Human-First Discovery platform, and for Takeda to get exclusive worldwide rights to commercialize a Rationally Selected Microbiota (RSM) product developed for Crohn’s. Financial terms were not disclosed.
In collaboration with Takeda, Finch’s first RSM product — FIN-524 — is in preclinical development for ulcerative colitis (UC). The RSM platform uses machine-learning algorithms to mine Finch’s unique clinical datasets to identify the key microbes driving patient outcomes.
“We are pleased to expand our collaboration with Takeda,” Mark Smith, PhD, Finch CEO, said in a press release. “We’ve had a very fruitful collaboration with Takeda on the development of FIN-524, and we look forward to utilizing the knowledge we’ve built together to pursue the development of new therapeutic options for an even wider group of patients battling IBD.”
Built on 30 years of translational research, Finch’s Human-First Discovery platform develops therapies from microbes that have shown significant clinical impact. In addition to RSM — a product platform based on microbes grown in cultures — it also has a donor-derived Full-Spectrum Microbiota product platform, which restores the functional diversity lost after disruptions to the microbiome.
Finch is using the Human-First Discovery platform for a range of diseases linked to dysbiosis (imbalance) of the gut microbiome, the community of bacteria and microorganisms that lives in the human body. Outnumbering human cells, the microbiota resides on human tissue or in body fluids, and grows with particularly density in the gastrointestinal tract. The human microbiome has been linked to a wide range of diseases including Crohn’s.
To advance the new class of microbial therapy, the collaborations combine Finch’s discovery platform with Takeda’s strength in developing therapies for gastrointestinal diseases, the companies stated.
“We’ve seen the promise of Finch’s Human-First Discovery platform for the development of a completely new type of treatment for inflammatory bowel disease,” said Gareth Hicks, PhD, vice president and head of Takeda’s gastroenterology drug discovery unit. “Through our work with Finch to understand the therapeutic potential of the microbiome, we hope to develop new treatment options that make a meaningful difference for individuals living with IBD.”
FIN-524 is a “microbial cocktail” being developed using disparate clinical datasets to identify specific strains responsible for driving the success of fecal microbiota transplantation in UC.
According to the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America, some 1.6 million U.S. residents have IBD (a term that includes Crohn’s disease and UC), which is characterized by chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract.
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