PureTech Health News
2018-07-10

Research for this new IBD programme to be advanced in collaboration with Keio University School of Medicine

PureTech Health plc (LSE: PRTC) ("PureTech Health"), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing novel medicines focused on the Brain-Immune-Gut (BIG) Axis, today announced that its affiliate, Vedanta Biosciences, has received funding from the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation to advance a microbiome-derived therapeutic programme for the treatment and potential interception of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).  This new IBD programme, wholly owned by Vedanta Biosciences, aims to target bacterial strains particularly abundant in Crohn’s disease that may lead to the onset of IBD. Vedanta Biosciences will advance this programme in collaboration with Dr Kenya Honda, MD, PhD, Professor, Keio University School of Medicine and a scientific co-founder of Vedanta Biosciences.

In addition to this new programme, Vedanta Biosciences previously announced a partnership with Janssen Biotech, Inc. for the development of drug candidate VE202 in IBD. VE202 is expected to enter the clinic in the second half of 2018.

David Steinberg, Chief Innovation Officer at PureTech Health, said: “We are delighted the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation has recognised Vedanta Biosciences’ contributions, innovation, and leadership in inflammatory bowel disease with this award. This new programme is based on an entirely new approach for the interception and treatment of IBD, and we look forward to working with Dr Honda to translate the interactions between the immune system and microbiome into powerful medicines.”

The full text announcement from Vedanta Biosciences is as follows:

Vedanta Biosciences Receives Award from the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation to Advance a Microbiome-Derived Therapeutic Programme for Interception and Treatment of Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Company also announces research collaboration with Keio University School of Medicine for this new IBD programme

Cambridge, Massachusetts, July 10, 2018Vedanta 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 organisation 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 programme for the treatment and potential interception of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). This programme is being advanced in collaboration with Dr Kenya Honda, MD, PhD, Professor, Keio University School of Medicine and a scientific co-founder of Vedanta Biosciences.

“As the first commercial organisation 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 colonisation 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 decolonise 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, PhD, 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 diarrhoea, 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 organisation 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 fulfil 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 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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 ImmunologyVedanta Biosciences has harnessed these biological insights and its capabilities to generate a pipeline of programmes 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).

About PureTech Health

PureTech Health (PRTC.L) is an advanced, clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing novel medicines targeting serious diseases that result from dysfunctions in the nervous, immune, and gastrointestinal systems (brain-immune-gut or the “BIG” axis), which together represent the adaptive human systems. PureTech Health is at the forefront of understanding and addressing the biological processes and crosstalk associated with the BIG axis. By harnessing this emerging field of human biology, PureTech Health is pioneering new categories of medicine with the potential to have great impact on people with serious diseases. PureTech Health is advancing a rich pipeline of innovative therapies that includes two pivotal stage programmes, multiple human proof-of-concept studies and a number of early clinical and pre-clinical programmes. PureTech’s research and development pipeline has been advanced in collaboration with some of the world’s leading scientific experts, who along with PureTech's team of biopharma pioneers, entrepreneurs and seasoned Board, identify, invent, and clinically de-risk new medicines. With this experienced team pursuing cutting edge science, PureTech Health is building the biopharma company of the future focused on improving and extending the lives of people with serious disease. For more information, visit www.puretechhealth.com or connect with us on Twitter @puretechh.

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