Click on the graphic above to access the World Microbiome 2020 Page
World Microbiome Day was founded by APC Microbiome Ireland in 2019. It aims to celebrate all things microbe and to raise awareness of the diverse world of microbiomes and their impact on human, animal, and environmental health.
In honour of the World Microbiome Day 2020 day, the BMC is proud to present this collection of microbiome research specially selected by our editors.
The BMC (Biomed Central) Research In Progress — A pioneer of open access publishing, BMC has an evolving portfolio of high quality peer-reviewed journals including broad interest titles such as BMC Biology and BMC Medicine, specialist journals such as Malaria Journal and Microbiome, and the BMC Series.
Expanding beyond biomedicine into the physical sciences, mathematics and engineering disciplines, BMC now offers a wider portfolio of subject fields on a single open access platform.
At BMC, research is always in progress. We are committed to continual innovation to better support the needs of our communities, ensuring the integrity of the research we publish, and championing the benefits of open research. BMC is part of Springer Nature.
BMC has an evolving portfolio of some 300 peer-reviewed journals, sharing discoveries from research communities in science, technology, engineering and medicine. In 1999 we made high quality research open to everyone who needed to access it – and in making the open access model sustainable, we changed the world of academic publishing.
Microbiota Restoration in Recurrent C. difficile (C. diff. ) and COVID-19
This activity is intended for gastroenterologists, infectious disease specialists, and other clinicians who care for patients at risk of serious infection.
Activity Purpose: While the incidence of multiply recurrent C. difficile continues to rise, FMT has emerged as a means to break the cycle. Amid the current COVID-19 pandemic, clinicians should be aware of the additional safety concerns that have arisen. Expert faculty will discuss approaches to FMT including sourcing and screening of donor stool, which requires heightened safety measures during the COVID-19 pandemic. This activity is the first in a series of two educational activities that address the latest data on treating patients who experience rCDI.
Please click on the following link to be redirected to the activity
This is a promising approach to managing CDI. Completion of a Phase 3 study, with positive results, is exciting and holds much promise for patients suffering with recurrent C. diff. infections.
We look forward to the final results and are truly grateful.
Rebiotix and Ferring announce world’s first with positive preliminary pivotal Phase 3 data for investigational microbiome-based therapy RBX2660
Rebiotix and Ferring are the first to announce positive preliminary results on primary
efficacy endpoint from ongoing pivotal Phase 3 clinical trial for RBX2660
RBX2660 is an investigational, non-antibiotic, microbiome-based therapy, developed to
reduce Clostridiodes difficile (C. diff) infection recurrences
The CDC defines C. diff as a major burden to patients and doctors and an urgent healthcare
threat causing an estimated half a million illnesses and thousands of deaths annually in the
US alone ( 1 , 2)
Source: Press Release
Roseville, Minnesota and Saint-Prex, Switzerland – 6 May, 2020, 07:00 EST –
Today, . These preliminary positive efficacy findings mark an important milestone, advancing RBX2660 in its clinical development program with a goal of bringing a US FDA approved therapy to patients. The clinical development program for RBX2660 is the most advanced in the world in evaluating the safety and efficacy of a standardized, non-antibiotic microbiome-based therapy.
RBX2660 is being developed to reduce C. diffinfection recurrences, an urgent unmet need for
patients and healthcare providers worldwide. Antibiotics, the current standard of care, have been shown to disrupt the microbiome and increase the risk of C. diff recurrence. 3
C. diff causes nearly 30,000 deaths each year in the US; in Europe, the incidence of C. diff is increasing, with recurrent bouts of infection representing 10-15% of all healthcare-related infections in hospitals annually. 4 , 5
As a live biotherapeutic, aiming to help restore the gut microbiome community, RBX2660 may bring an innovative therapeutic option to patients suffering from this potentially deadly infection. “C. diff infection is a significant public health threat that has limited treatment options. These positive preliminary findings represent a major step forward towards bringing an innovative, non-antibiotic option to patients that may help restore their gut microbiome, said Per Falk, Ferring’s President and Chief Science Officer. With health systems under increasing pressure due to viruses like COVID-19 and the rising threat of antimicrobial resistance, the need for new therapies is greater than ever. We believe the power of the microbiome has great potential and we look forward to bringing RBX2660 to patients soon.”
“Since founding Rebiotix in 2011, our mission has been to harness the power of the microbiome to treat complex diseases. Our first goal was to address C. diff, which poses a significant health threat to thousands worldwide every year,” said Lee Jones, CEO and founder of Rebiotix, a Ferring company.
The positive preliminary data on the primary efficacy endpoint are a major stepping stone
for the RBX2660 development program, bringing us closer to an approved microbiome therapy
available for healthcare providers to help patients. As a first-in-class, potentially paradigm-changing technology, we look forward to discussing our final data with the FDA in the latter part of this year.” The ongoing Phase 3 trial is a randomized, multicenter, double-blinded, placebo-controlled study. The trial also incorporates a safety assessment intended to follow patients for several months after receiving the investigational drug. The safety data will provide insight into the potential of using microbes as a therapeutic intervention. The full data package is anticipated in the second half of 2020.
This trial builds on nearly a decade of research and evaluation of the formulation, with robust clinicaland microbiome data collected over multiple controlled trials under the proprietary MRT™ drug platform.
About Clostridioides difficile infection (C. diff)
C. diff is a bacterium that causes diarrhea and colitis (an inflammation of the colon). 6 It is estimated to cause up to half a million illnesses in the US alone every year and is considered an urgent threat to public health by the CDC, and can lead to severe complications, including hospitalization, surgery, and death. 2 While antibiotics are the standard of care to address the infection, they are also the primary risk factor for disease recurrence. 3 Recurrence of C. diff occurs in approximately 15- 50% of patients. 7
About the microbiome
The human microbiome is a complex community of microorganisms which live on every surface of the body. The microbiome aids in the maintenance and development of the immune system,
metabolism, and other functions essential to human life. 8 The gastrointestinal tract houses the most dense and complex population of microbiota, which has an incredible influence over daily health – from aiding in food digestion to fighting disease. Clinical and scientific studies indicate antibiotics, viruses, stress and other factors can disturb the gut microbiota. This disruption, often referred to as “dysbiosis,” may have negative health impacts, and promote conditions for infections like C. dif infection to take hold. 9
Rebiotix and Ferring believe there is tremendous potential in microbiota-based therapies to address such illnesses, and are evaluating this therapeutic option through their
pioneering microbiota-based MRT™ drug platform, beginning with recurrent C. diff infection.
The investigational RBX2660 formulation is the first-in-class microbiota-based therapy to achieve positive preliminary Phase 3 study results. RBX2660 is being developed to help break the cycle of recurrent C. diff infection. The therapy has been granted Fast Track, Orphan, and Breakthrough Therapy designations from the US FDA. The RBX2660 ongoing pivotal Phase 3 trial, PUNCH CD3, is a randomized, multicenter, double-blinded, placebo-controlled study. For more information about the RBX2660 Phase 3 study, visit http://www.clinicaltrials.gov (NCT03244644).
About Ferring Pharmaceutical Ferring Pharmaceuticals is a research-driven, specialty biopharmaceutical group committed to helping people around the world build families and live better lives. Headquartered in Saint-Prex,Switzerland, Ferring is a leader in reproductive medicine and maternal health, and in specialty areas within gastroenterology and urology. Founded in 1950, privately-owned Ferring now employs approximately 6,500 people worldwide, has its own operating subsidiaries in nearly 60 countries and markets its products in 110 countries.Learn more at http://www.ferring.com, or connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube.
Rebiotix Inc, part of the Ferring Pharmaceuticals Group, is a late-stage clinical microbiome
company focused on harnessing the power of the human microbiome to revolutionize the treatment of challenging diseases. Rebiotix has a diverse pipeline of investigational drug products built on its pioneering microbiota-based MRT™ drug platform. The platform consists of investigational drug technologies designed to potentially rehabilitate the human microbiome by delivering a broad consortium of live microbes into a patient’s intestinal tract. For more information on Rebiotix and its pipeline of human microbiome-directed therapies for diverse disease states, visit http://www.rebiotix.com, or connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube.
For more information, please contact
Rebiotix Inc., a Ferring Company
+1 651 705 8774 (direct)
1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. What Is C. Diff?17 Dec. 2018. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/cdiff/what-is.html.
2 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Biggest Threats and Data, 14 Nov. 2019. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/drugresistance/biggest-threats.html.
3 Theriot CM, Young VB. Microbial and metabolic interactions between the gastrointestinal tract and
Clostridium difficile infection. Gut Microbes. 2013;5(1):86-95. doi:10.4161/gmic.27131.
4 Lessa FC, Mu Y, Bamberg WM, et al., Burden of Clostridium difficile Infection in the United States. New
England Journal of Medicine. 2015;372(9):825-834. doi:10.1056/nejmoa1408913.
5 DRG Report 2016 Clostridium Difficile.
6 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Clostridiodes difficile Fact Sheet. Available at:
7 Stevens VW, Nelson RE, Schwab-Daugherty EM, et al., Comparative Effectiveness of Vancomycin and
Metronidazole for the Prevention of Recurrence and Death in Patients with Clostridium difficile Infection.
JAMA Intern Med. 2017;177(4):546–553. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.9045.
8 Mohajeri MH, Brummer RJM, Rastall RA, et al., The role of the microbiome for human health: from basic
science to clinical applications. Eur J Nutr. 2018;57(Suppl 1):1–14. doi:10.1007/s00394-018-1703-4.
9 Quigley EM. Gut bacteria in health and disease. Gastroenterol Hepatol (N Y). 2013;9(9):560–569.
It has access to the largest surface area of the body, alters drugs before they even enter the blood stream and could be a potent medicinal weapon… yet there is much we still don’t understand about the microbiome.
Here David Kirk and Ben Bradley tell us about their attempts to heal us from within
We are not alone. We are inhabited by hundreds of species of microbes, which represent millions of genes. Together, these microscopic organisms – bacteria, fungi, archaea and viruses – and their collective genomes make up the microbiome.
To review this article in its entirety please click on the following link:
In the gut, microbes break down otherwise indigestible dietary fibres and release nutrients, such as B-vitamins and short chain fatty acids, which can be absorbed by the intestines. They secrete other small molecules or peptides which interact with the body via the bloodstream and immune system. The majority of these have yet to be identified and characterised. In addition, commensal microbes deter opportunistic pathogens from invading the competitive niche of the intestinal tract.
LBPs are a recent concept and have their origins in a novel treatment for C. difficile infection: the faecal microbiota transplant… this is exactly what you think it is
The disruption of the microbiome, termed dysbiosis, is associated with an ever-growing list of conditions. Obesity and metabolic syndrome, for instance, are associated with a microbiome less diverse than that of a healthy individual. Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and colorectal cancer are associated with a decrease in butyrate-producing bacteria like Clostridia, and an increase in Enterobacteriaceae and Bacilli.
An air of scepticism comes with the phrase “associated”. Microbiome research is still a developing field, and the presence or absence of a single species or genus cannot be directly blamed for conditions like obesity or IBD in all patients. The complex interplay between host and microbiome depends as much on the host’s genetic susceptibility and environment as on the dysbiosis or lack of diversity in the microbiome. The million dollar question remains: What exactly constitutes a ‘healthy microbiome’?
A powerful tool
The microbiome is adaptive and changes in response to diet, environment and disease. It has become increasingly clear that many drugs interact with the microbiome, with some requiring microbiota derived enzymes for activation and others being rendered non-functional or even toxic via microbiota dependant conversion. As research in host-microbe interaction continues, more accurate relationships between the microbiome and human illness will be uncovered.
The gut microbiome presents an interesting medicinal target in itself. It interacts directly with one of the largest surface areas of the body. Therefore it has easy access to the bloodstream through diffusion of nutrients and small molecules, and via a mucosal layer rich in multiple cell types of the adaptive and innate immune systems. Due to the powerful delivering capacity of the gut, most microbial-based treatments in development aim to add to the microbiome rather than take away from it.
Microbial therapies using living organisms are known as live biotherapeutic products (LBPs). LBPs are a recent concept and have their origins in a novel treatment for C. difficile infection (CDI): the faecal microbiota transplant.
This is exactly what you think it is.
CDI occurs when the gut microbiome is wiped out by antibiotic use and becomes infected by C. difficile, an organism that is normally unable to compete against the natural microbiota. This illness may recur in spite of further antibiotic treatments, and can be fatal. The most effective treatment, in extreme cases, is a faecal transplant into the infected recipient. Transplanted microbes thrive and outcompete C. difficile, effectively reversing the infection in over 90% of cases. But due to the uncertainty of what constitutes a ‘healthy microbiome’, a faecal transplant cannot be considered a cure-all for dysbiosis-associated illness.
Daunting clinical trials
This “unknown” of host-microbe interaction sparked the need to develop defined microbiome therapies. Naturally, CDI was one of the first targets for a defined treatment. Several companies are developing and trialling defined cocktails of bacteria known to safely inhabit the gut with the goal of outcompeting C. difficile with Seres Therapeutics and Rebiotix entering phase 3 trials in 2018.
CHAIN Biotech is developing technology to deliver therapeutics to the gut microbiome using engineered Clostridium, a spore forming bacterium, and have a lead candidate targeting IBD. IBD is a collection of inflammatory diseases of the gut, commonly treated with steroid injections which cause numerous unpleasant side effects. Our approach is to deliver an LBP directly to the gut, where it can produce an anti-inflammatory in situ. We also make use of this species’ natural ability to produce spores, which survive the acidic environment of the stomach and germinates into therapeutic-producing cells only in the anaerobic environment of the lower intestine.
This elementary approach – adding one organism with a safe history of use in the human gut, and having it produce one novel product – minimizes the risk of disruption to the microbiome and delivers the treatment directly to the affected area. The next stages, taking LBPs to clinical trial, are daunting. A lot of unknowns exist around the human gut microbiome and these kinds of treatments. Few microbiome companies have LBPs in late-stage clinical trial, but those that do give hope to both patients and us that LBPs will someday heal us from within.
Rebiotix Inc., a clinical-stage microbiome company focused on harnessing the power of the human microbiome to treat debilitating diseases, announced on February 12, 2018 — the development of the Microbiome Health Index™ (MHI™)to provide the microbiome research community with a standardized metric to quantify the rehabilitation of the human microbiome.
MHI was established in partnership with data analytics firm, BioRankings®, to enable a non-biased comparison of the efficacy of microbiome-based therapeutics.
New MHI data will be presented at the 28th European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ECCMID 2018) in April.
“In developing the Microbiome Health Index, our aim is to provide an objective, universal tool to measure the restoration of a dysbiotic microbiome across different trial designs, sequencing methods and across multiple drug technologies,” stated Ken F. Blount, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer of Rebiotix. “Initial analyses using MHI in Clostridium difficile (C. diff) infections have demonstrated its significant potential to quantify and differentiate dysbiotic from healthier microbiomes. As presented at ACG2017, MHI was able to quantify the relationship between four key bacterial classes into a single metric that can distinguish patients with dysbiosis resulting from C. diff. From this, we were able to gain valuable insight into the mechanism of action by which Rebiotix’s Phase 3 microbiota drug, RBX2660, is able to rehabilitate a dysbiotic microbiome to a healthier state.”
Blount continued, “MHI is now being employed to analyze microbiome profile data gathered in the ongoing Phase 1 clinical trial of RBX7455, Rebiotix’s lyophilized, non-frozen oral capsule formulation. The intent with this research is to further strengthen and refine MHI and confirm the RBX2660 analysis. Additionally, we will look to utilize MHI in new diseases states being studied.”
Bill Shannon, Ph.D., MBA, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Analytics at BioRankings said, “The human microbiome is a new frontier where very little analytical methodology or rigorous statistical methods have been developed specifically for this type of data. Analytical tools such as MHI will be critical to advance translational clinical microbiome research, and we are emboldened by the MHI data that have been reported and continuing to be collected. Our vision is for MHI to become a standard measure for microbiome research, potentially serving as a validated endpoint for clinical trials and providing both a predictive measure and actionable data.”
MHI provides a unidimensional expression of changes in four taxonomic classes known to have relevance to microbiome health and colonization resistance – Bacteriodia, Clostridia, Gammaproteobacteria and Bacilli.
Utilizing microbiome profiles of patients from the PUNCH CD2 Phase 2b trial of RBX2660, researchers determined that MHI can effectively distinguish patients with dysbiosis from healthier patients, as defined by the RBX2660 product profile and the Human Microbiome Project. Notably following RBX2660 treatment, MHI significantly increased as early as seven days in responders compared to baseline and continued to increase at day 30 and day 60.
BioRankings is a contract analytics firm that works with clients to extract actionable results from their data. Their business philosophy centers on providing clients and partners with the methods, software, and support they need to make full use of their data and design accurate, cost-efficient experiments. For more information on BioRankings, please visit http://www.biorankings.com.
About Rebiotix Inc.
Rebiotix Inc. is a late-stage clinical microbiome company focused on harnessing the power of the human microbiome to revolutionize the treatment of challenging diseases. Rebiotix possesses a deep and diverse clinical pipeline, with its lead drug candidate, RBX2660, in Phase 3 clinical development for the prevention of recurrent Clostridium difficile (C. diff) infection. RBX2660 has been granted Fast Track status, Orphan Drug and Breakthrough Therapy designation from the FDA for its potential to prevent recurrent C. diff. infection. Rebiotix’s clinical pipeline also features RBX7455, a lyophilized, non-frozen, oral capsule formulation, which is currently the subject of an investigator-sponsored Phase 1 trial for the prevention of recurrent C. diff. infection. In addition, Rebiotix is targeting several other disease states with drug products built on its pioneering Microbiota Restoration Therapy™ (MRT™) platform. MRT is a standardized, stabilized drug technology that is designed to rehabilitate the human microbiome by delivering a broad consortium of live microbes into a patient’s intestinal tract via a ready-to-use and easy-to-administer format. For more information on Rebiotix and its pipeline of human microbiome-directed therapies, visit http://www.rebiotix.com.