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Bristol-Myers Squibb and Enterome join forces
NEW YORK & PARIS—Back in November, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Enterome SA announced an immuno-oncology-focused collaboration agreement combining Bristol-Myers Squibb’s expertise in the discovery and development of novel immunotherapies with Enterome’s proprietary metagenomic technology platform and leadership in the rapidly advancing science of the gut microbiome to support the discovery of novel immunotherapy agents and biomarkers.
The collaboration will focus on the discovery and development of microbiome-derived biomarkers, drug targets and bioactive molecules which will be developed as potential companion diagnostics and therapeutics for cancer, with the added goal of identifying novel microbiome-derived biomarkers in an effort to improve clinical outcomes for patients treated with Bristol-Myers Squibb’s immuno-oncology portfolio.
“We are delighted to collaborate with Bristol-Myers Squibb to help advance the field of immuno-oncology,” said Pierre Belichard, CEO of Enterome. “The exciting combination of Bristol-Myers Squibb’s extensive capabilities in immuno-oncology with our expertise in identifying novel targets and molecules derived from the gut microbiome is highly complementary, and offers a unique opportunity to develop a new generation of cancer drugs and diagnostics.”
In the last decade, research has shown that the gut microbiome plays an important role in regulating metabolism, influencing the chemistry in the brain, acting as a barrier to pathogens and regulating the immune system. With regard to cancer, recent studies have demonstrated that the gut microbiome plays an important role in modulating mechanisms of response and resistance to cancer immunotherapies.
By studying the changes in a host’s body as a result of this gut microbiome, researchers can identify specific targets and bioactive compounds and potentially augment anticancer immune responses. With new therapies available to cancer patients, the option to use them in conjunction with microbiome-based therapeutics may help to boost the immune system and potentially lead to improved outcomes in more patients.
Per this new agreement, Bristol-Myers Squibb will be granted exclusive rights to intellectual property and therapies generated during the collaboration. Enterome will receive an upfront payment of $15 million for access to its technology plus R&D funding, and is eligible to receive preclinical and clinical milestone payments for each licensed therapeutic candidate plus royalties on net sales as well as additional milestone payments in relation to new diagnostic products discovered and developed during the collaboration.
Bristol-Myers Squibb is a global biopharmaceutical company whose mission is to discover, develop and deliver innovative medicines that help patients with serious diseases. The company has reached a level of success by enhancing their early- and mid-stage research with acquisitions, collaborations, alliances and agreements to help balance their portfolio and build clusters of expertise in key therapeutic areas where there is great unmet medical need.
Enterome is focused on the development of novel pharmaceuticals and diagnostics to support personalized therapies in microbiome-related diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease, cancer and metabolic diseases. The company feels it is leading the development of new industry standards in gut microbiome quantitative and functional analysis, allowing them to open up the new field of therapeutic target discovery in the microbiome in order to address significant unmet medical needs. Since 2012, Enterome has established partnerships with leading pharmaceutical companies and academic research institutes, including Johnson & Johnson Innovation/Janssen Biotech, Takeda and AbbVie in inflammatory bowel and other gastrointestinal diseases; Bristol-Myers Squibb in immuno-oncology; and the Mayo Clinic and Geisinger hospitals in metabolic disorders.
“We continue to pursue the full potential of immuno-oncology by applying rapidly evolving science, technology and research to our strong foundation in harnessing the immune system to fight cancer,” said Dr. Carl Decicco, head of discovery at Bristol-Myers Squibb. “Business development has been integral in partnering external innovation with our internal R&D expertise and capabilities. Enterome’s focus on target identification and validation along with their significant experience in microbiome research can help to advance our goal to improve outcomes for patients treated with immunotherapies.”