Seres Therapeutics and Nestlé Health Science have announced a decision to team up for the joint commercialization of Seres’s investigational oral microbiome treatment for recurrent Clostridioides difficile (C. difficile) infections (CDI).
Nestlé Health Science had previously received commercial rights to Seres’s therapeutics for inflammatory bowel disease and CDI, but only outside the U.S. and Canada. This expansion places Nestlé as Seres’s global collaborator for SER-109, a therapy the company hopes to treat a leading contributor to hospital-acquired infections in North America. If approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the agent, dubbed SER-109, will be the first microbiome therapeutic available.
Each year, CDI contributes to the deaths of 20,000 Americans.Standard of carefor recurrent CDI includes the use of fecal microbial transplants. Currently, there is no microbiome therapies approved for any indications, which has created an unmet need recognized by an ever-growing list of pharmaceutical companies partnering with microbiome startups.
Seres’s investigational SER-109 includes purified Firmicutes spores; the rationale for including these spores is “based on their modulatory role in the life cycle of C. difficile and disease pathogenesis,” according to a statement made by the company.
Findings from the pivotal Phase III ECOSPOR III trial announced back in August 2020 showed SER-109 significantly reduced the CDI recurrence rate compared with placebo over an eight-week period. The absolute reduction of the CDI recurrence rate was 27% while the relative risk reduction was 68%. In addition, up to 88% of patients experienced a sustained clinical response by the end of the eight weeks.
Nestlé Health Science has agreed to use Aimmune Therapeutics, the company’s global pharmaceutical business, to lead the commercialization of the therapy. In return, Seres has agreed to receive upfront licensing payments totaling $175 million. An additional $125 million will be paid to Seres by Nestlé upon FDA approval of the microbiome agent.
Under terms of the agreement, Seres holds the sole responsibility for costs associated with development and pre-commercialization of SER-109 in the U.S. The company will be eligible to receive up to 50% of the commercial profits once the therapeutic is commercialized.
“Nestlé Health Science has been a terrific collaborator in our quest to develop a new treatment option for patients suffering from recurrent C. difficile infection, and their support over the past few years has been critical in advancing SER-109 to address this unmet need,” said Eric Shaff, Seres Therapeutics’ chief executive officer, in a statement. “As we prepare for potential approval and commercialization, we are eager to embark side-by-side on our next phase with a company that believes as fervently as we do in the potential of this transformative approach to reduce the recurrence of CDI.”
Nestlé Health Science’s CEO, Greg Behar, added that the company “is focused on the fast-developing areas of gut health, food allergies and metabolic health within our global pharmaceutical business, Aimmune Therapeutics.” As such, Aimmune’s “fully integrated commercial infrastructure” will be leveraged to launch the therapy, pending approval.
Seres has been busy this year in moving its investigational microbiome therapy pipeline in front of the FDA. Last month, Seres announced the agency had cleared an Investigational New Drug application for the company’s other investigational microbiome therapeutic for preventing antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections as well as graft-versus-host disease.
The company is advancing SER-155 into a Phase Ib trial under a collaboration with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. “SER-155 represents a novel microbiome technology with the potential to address antibiotic-resistant bacterial bloodstream infections and further to modulate host immunomodulatory responses to decrease graft-versus-host disease,” said Seres’s chief scientific officer, Matthew Henn, Ph.D., in a statement.
– SER-109 met Phase 3 primary endpoint, showing a highly statistically significant 30.2% absolute reduction in the rate of C. difficile infection recurrence compared to placebo –
– SER-109 was well tolerated, with a safety profile comparable to placebo –
– Efficacy results substantially exceeded FDA regulatory guidance to support BLA filing as a single pivotal trial; Company to meet with the agency to discuss filing for product approval as soon as possible –
–Positive SER-109 Phase 3 data provide validation for Seres’ microbiome therapeutics platform and further development of its pipeline of product candidates –
Seres Therapeutics, Inc. reported on August 10, 2020, positive topline results from the pivotal Phase 3 ECOSPOR III study evaluating its investigational oral microbiome therapeutic SER-109 for recurrent C. difficile infection (CDI). The study showed that SER-109 administration resulted in a highly statistically significant absolute decrease of 30.2% in the proportion of patients who experienced a recurrence in CDI within eight weeks of administration versus placebo, the study’s primary endpoint. 11.1% of patients administered SER-109 experienced a CDI recurrence, versus 41.3% of placebo patients. The study results were equally compelling when characterized by the alternative metric of sustained clinical response, where 88.9% of patients in the SER-109 arm achieved this objective.
The study’s efficacy results exceeded the statistical threshold previously provided in consultation with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that could allow this single clinical study to fulfill efficacy requirements for a Biologics License Application (BLA). The SER-109 safety results were favorable, with an adverse event profile comparable to placebo.
“We are extremely pleased with these highly clinically meaningful SER-109 Phase 3 study results, greatly exceeding the statistical threshold provided by the FDA. Based on our prior discussions with the FDA, we believe this trial should provide the efficacy basis for submitting an application for product approval. We look forward to meeting with the FDA as soon as possible to discuss the regulatory path forward with the goal of bringing SER-109 to patients as a first-in-class microbiome therapeutic,” said Eric D. Shaff, President and Chief Executive Officer of Seres. “Our results represent the first-ever positive pivotal clinical study results for a targeted microbiome drug candidate. We believe these Phase 3 data provide strong validation for our underlying microbiome therapeutics platform, which has been the scientific basis for the Company, as well as persuasive clinical evidence supporting our other active pipeline programs.”
“We would like to thank all those who participated in this landmark study. Based on these highly positive SER-109 ECOSPOR III results, we believe that this novel microbiome therapeutic candidate could potentially provide a much-needed effective oral treatment option for the approximately 170,000 patients in the U.S. that suffer from recurrent CDI annually,” said Lisa von Moltke, M.D., FCP, Chief Medical Officer of Seres. “Seres applied a data-driven and scientifically rigorous approach to develop SER-109. The proprietary scientific learnings we have obtained continue to drive our overall R&D efforts and the advancement of our other ongoing microbiome therapeutic programs.”
“Recurrent C. difficile infection is a serious disease that devastates patients’ quality of life, and in many severe cases may result in a patient’s death. Today’s treatment options have important shortcomings related to efficacy, safety and route of administration, and novel approaches that target the root causes of the disease are urgently needed. The SER-109 Phase 3 results are highly impressive and represent an exceptional advance in the fight against this disease. I believe that SER-109 has the potential to fundamentally transform the treatment of recurrent C. difficile infection,” said Mark Wilcox, M.D., Professor of Medical Microbiology, University of Leeds.
ECOSPOR III Study Design and Results
The ECOSPOR III study (ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT03183128) is a multicenter, randomized, placebo-controlled study that enrolled 182 patients with multiply recurrent CDI. Patients were randomized 1:1 to receive either SER-109 or placebo, after standard of care antibiotic treatment. SER-109, or placebo, was administered orally for three consecutive days. All patients were required to have a positive C. difficile toxin diagnostic test both at study entry and in the case of suspected recurrence to ensure the selection of individuals with active disease and to confirm the accuracy of the primary endpoint.
The primary efficacy endpoint of ECOSPOR III was the proportion of patients with recurrent CDI at up to eight weeks following administration of SER-109 or placebo. As a secondary endpoint, patients are evaluated for CDI recurrence through 24 weeks post-treatment, and the Company plans to present those results at a future date.
SER-109 met the study’s primary endpoint with a significantly lower recurrence rate of 11.1% in SER-109 patients versus 41.3% in placebo patients at eight weeks; p<0.001 tested at the one-sided 0.25 level. Patients administered SER-109 experienced a 30.2% lower rate of recurrence, on an absolute basis, compared to placebo. The SER-109 treatment arm relative risk was 0.27 (95% CI=0.15 to 0.51) versus placebo. The ECOSPOR III recurrence rates translate into a sustained clinical response rate of 88.9% versus 58.7% with SER-109 and placebo, respectively. The SER-109 Number Needed to Treat (NNT) was approximately 3.
In prior discussions, the FDA communicated that demonstration of a statistically very persuasive efficacy finding in the ECOSPOR III primary endpoint, defined as demonstrating a 95% upper confidence level of relative risk lower than 0.833, could support a BLA submission on the basis of this single study. The results of ECOSPOR III demonstrated a SER-109 relative risk of 0.27 (95% CI=0.15 to 0.51) compared to placebo. As a result, Seres believes that this study should support the efficacy basis for BLA submission. SER-109 has obtained FDA Breakthrough Therapy and Orphan Drug designations.
SER-109 was well tolerated, with no treatment-related serious adverse events (SAEs) observed in the active arm, and an adverse event profile similar to placebo. The overall incidence of patients who experienced AEs during the eight-week study period was similar between SER-109 and placebo arms. The most commonly observed treatment-related AEs were flatulence, abdominal distention and abdominal pain, which were generally mild to moderate in nature, and these were observed at a similar rate in both the SER-109 and placebo arms.
A SER-109 open-label study is ongoing ( clinicaltrials.gov identifier: NCT03183141) at selected clinical sites that participated in the ECOSPOR III study, and the Company may initiate the program at additional clinical sites. The FDA has previously indicated that SER-109 administration to at least 300 patients, consistent with standard FDA guidance, would be required to support BLA submission. The ongoing SER-109 open-label study is continuing to contribute to the SER-109 safety database.
The Company plans to immediately request a Breakthrough Therapy designation meeting with the FDA to discuss the requirements to submit a BLA seeking regulatory approval of SER-109. Given the favorable efficacy and safety results seen in ECOSPOR III, the safety results observed in prior SER-109 clinical studies, and the critical unmet need for a therapeutic option for recurrent CDI patients, the Company plans to discuss with the FDA the safety data requirements for a BLA filing.
Seres continues to advance its commercial readiness for the potential launch of SER-109. In June 2020, Seres appointed Terri Young, Ph.D., R.Ph., as Chief Commercial and Strategy Officer. The Company has been conducting activities to support successful future potential commercialization. Seres believes that the commercial opportunity for SER-109 could be substantial, given the dire need for an effective, safe, oral therapeutic, and the strength of the SER-109 Phase 3 study results.
Conference Call Information
Seres’ management will host a conference call today, August 10, 2020, at 8:30 a.m. ET. To access the conference call, please dial 844-277-9450 (domestic) or 336-525-7139 (international) and reference the conference ID number 3216859. Accompanying slides will be posted on the Seres website ahead of the conference call. To join the live webcast, and to view the accompanying slides, please visit the “Investors and Media” section of the Seres website at www.serestherapeutics.com.
A webcast replay will be available on the Seres website beginning approximately two hours after the event and will be archived for approximately 21 days.
SER-109 is an investigational, oral, biologically-derived microbiome therapeutic that is designed to reduce recurrence of C. difficile infection (CDI), enabling patients to achieve a sustained clinical response by breaking the vicious cycle of CDI recurrence and restoring the diversity of the gastrointestinal microbiome. SER-109 is a consortium of purified bacterial spores of multiple Firmicute species, manufactured by fractionating targeted bacteria from the stool of healthy human donors with further steps to inactivate potential pathogens. The FDA has granted SER-109 Breakthrough Therapy designation and Orphan Drug designation for the treatment of CDI.
SER-109 is fundamentally distinct from fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT). SER-109 is comprised of a highly-purified consortia of spore-based commensal bacteria and designed to be manufactured in accordance with Good Manufacturing Practice conditions using stringent standards to ensure product quality and consistency. To support product safety, Seres utilizes a unique manufacturing process that inactivates numerous potential pathogens, including species of non-spore bacteria, such as Escherichia coli, and viruses such as SARS-CoV-2.
About C. difficile Infection (CDI) and Current Treatments
C. difficile infection (CDI) is one of the top three most urgent antibiotic-resistant bacterial threats in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control, and is a leading cause of hospital-acquired infection in the U.S. It is responsible for the deaths of approximately 20,000 Americans each year. CDI is associated with debilitating diarrhea, which significantly impacts quality of life in every functional domain. Since the discovery of C. difficile more than four decades ago, vancomycin has been the most commonly used drug for patient management. Current approaches provide only modest improvements in sustained clinical response rates, leaving behind a significant pool of patients with recurrent disease. Unapproved FMT, used in cases that are not responsive to approved drugs, remains poorly characterized clinically and has been associated with serious safety concerns, including the transmission of bacterial pathogens and the potential transmission of viruses such as SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The recent quarantine and shipping hold of FMT from a major stool bank highlights the urgent need for an approved effective and safe treatment for recurrent CDI.
About Seres Therapeutics
Seres Therapeutics, Inc., (Nasdaq: MCRB) is a leading microbiome therapeutics platform company developing a novel class of multifunctional bacterial consortia that are designed to functionally interact with host cells and tissues to treat disease. Seres’ SER-109 program achieved the first-ever positive pivotal clinical results for a targeted microbiome drug candidate and has obtained Breakthrough Therapy and Orphan Drug designations from the FDA. The SER-109 program is being advanced for the treatment of recurrent C. difficile infection and has the potential to become a first-in-class FDA-approved microbiome therapeutic. Seres’ SER-287 program has obtained Fast Track and Orphan Drug designations from the FDA and is being evaluated in a Phase 2b study in patients with active mild-to-moderate ulcerative colitis. Seres is developing SER-401 in a Phase 1b study in patients with metastatic melanoma, SER-301 for ulcerative colitis and SER-155 to prevent mortality due to gastrointestinal infections, bacteremia, and graft versus host disease. For more information, please visit www.serestherapeutics.com
SER-109, an Investigational Microbiome Drug to Reduce
Recurrence After Clostridioides difficile Infection: Lessons
Learned From a Phase 2 Trial.
Barbara H. McGovern,1,a, Christopher B. Ford,1,a , Matthew R. Henn,1,a , Darrell S. Pardi 2
Sahil Khanna,2 Elizabeth L. Hohmann,3 Edward J. O’Brien,1
Christopher A. Desjardins,1, Patricia Bernardo,1, Jennifer R. Wortman,1, Mary-Jane Lombardo,1
Kevin D. Litcofsky,1, Jonathan A. Winkler,1, Christopher W. J. McChalicher,1, Sunny S. Li,1,
Amelia D. Tomlinson,1,Madhumitha Nandakumar,1 David N. Cook1,
Roger J. Pomerantz,1, John G. Auninš,1, and Michele Trucksis1,
1 Seres Therapeutics, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA, 2 Mayo Clinic, Gastroenterology Division, Rochester, Minnesota, USA, and 3 Massachusetts General Hospital, Infectious Diseases Division, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Background. Recurrent Clostridioides difficile infection (rCDI) is associated with loss of microbial diversity and microbe-derived secondary bile acids, which inhibit C. difficile germination and growth. SER-109, an investigational microbiome drug of donor-derived, purified spores, reduced recurrence in a dose-ranging, phase (P) 1 study in subjects with multiple rCDIs.
Methods. In a P2 double-blind trial, subjects with clinical resolution on standard-of-care antibiotics were stratified by age (< or ≥65 years) and randomized 2:1 to single-dose SER-109 or placebo. Subjects were diagnosed at study entry by PCR or toxin testing.
Safety, C. difficile–positive diarrhea through week 8, SER-109 engraftment, and bile acid changes were assessed.
Results. 89 subjects enrolled (67% female; 80.9% diagnosed by PCR). rCDI rates were lower in the SER-109 arm than placebo
(44.1% vs 53.3%) but did not meet statistical significance. In a preplanned analysis, rates were reduced among subjects ≥65 years
(45.2% vs 80%, respectively; RR, 1.77; 95% CI, 1.11–2.81), while the <65 group showed no benefit. Early engraftment of SER-109
was associated with nonrecurrence (P < .05) and increased secondary bile acid concentrations (P < .0001). Whole-metagenomic sequencing from this study and the P1 study revealed previously unappreciated dose-dependent engraftment kinetics and confirmed
an association between early engraftment and nonrecurrence. Engraftment kinetics suggest that P2 dosing was suboptimal.
Adverse events were generally mild to moderate in severity.
Seres Therapeutics to Host Virtual SER-109 Focused Symposium on May 27, 2020, Ahead of Phase 3 ECOSPOR III Study Read-Out
– Data from SER-109 Phase 3 study in recurrent C. difficile infection expected mid-2020 –
Seres Therapeutics, Inc. announced that it will host a virtual webcast symposium focused on SER-109 as a potential new therapeutic option for recurrent Clostridioides difficile infection (CDI) on Wednesday, May 27, 2020 from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. ET.
During the event, Mark Wilcox, M.D., Professor of Medical Microbiology, University of Leeds, and Seres’ management will discuss the CDI patient burden, the ongoing SER-109 Phase 3 ECOSPOR III study and the potential for SER-109 to become the standard of care for recurrent CDI.
SER-109 is being evaluated in an ongoing Phase 3 study for the prevention of recurrence of CDI. SER-109 has obtained both Breakthrough Therapy Designation and Orphan Drug Designation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Seres previously reported the completion of enrollment in the Phase 3 ECOSPOR III study (ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT03183128), a multicenter, randomized 1:1, placebo-controlled study in patients with multiply recurrent CDI. ECOSPOR III has enrolled 182 patients. Seres expects to report SER-109 Phase 3 top-line results in mid-2020.
Based on prior discussions with the FDA, Seres believes that ECOSPOR III has the potential to be the single pivotal study supporting product registration; however, this will depend on the strength of the data, and additional safety data may be required. If approved, SER-109 has the potential to be the first FDA-approved therapy for CDI to treat the underlying cause of this disease, and the first approved microbiome drug for any human condition.
To join the live webcast, on May 27, 2020 at 8:30 a.m. ET, including presentation slides, please visit the “Investors & Media” section of the Seres website at www.serestherapeutics.com. To access the conference call, please dial 844-277-9450 (domestic) or 336-525-7139 (international) and reference the conference ID number 4884302. Webcast Link: https://edge.media-server.com/mmc/p/3qo4hxiv.
A webcast replay will be available on the Seres website beginning approximately two hours after the event and will be archived for approximately 21 days.
To view press release in its entirety please click on the following link:
SER-109 is an oral, first-in-field microbiome therapeutic candidate that has been granted Orphan Drug and Breakthrough Therapy designations by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and is being investigated for use in preventing recurrent Clostridiumdifficile infection (CDI).
“We are pleased to have achieved this critically important corporate milestone. SER-109 has the potential to be the first FDA-approved therapy for C. difficile infection to treat the underlying cause of this disease, and the first approved microbiome drug for any human condition. We believe SER-109 could fundamentally transform the treatment of patients with recurrent C. difficile infection, a life-altering infectious disease, and we eagerly look forward to topline clinical results in the middle of this year. With compelling Phase 3 ECOSPOR III clinical data, we plan to engage in discussions with the FDA regarding a filing for product approval,” said Eric Shaff, President and Chief Executive Officer of Seres. “We are also working to advance our other promising clinical development candidates in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. This remains an evolving situation and we are carefully reviewing our development plans to determine how to rapidly advance our pipeline toward high-quality data readouts.”
SER-109 Study Updates
The SER-109 Phase 3 ECOSPOR III study (ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT03183128) is a multicenter, randomized, placebo-controlled study which has enrolled 181 patients with multiply recurrent CDI to date. ECOSPOR III had been designed to enroll 188 patients. The Company has decided to halt enrollment as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Seres believes that ECOSPOR III remains well-powered to evaluate the efficacy of SER-109. The ECOSPOR III study’s primary endpoint is the reduction of CDIrecurrence at up to eight weeks following SER-109 administration, and the Company expects to report study results in mid-2020 as had been planned.
Seres is grateful to the patients, principal investigators and clinical research teams who participated in ECOSPOR III, many of whom are now involved in the fight against COVID-19.
The SER-109 Phase 3 ECOSPOR III study includes use of an objective Clostridiumdifficile cytotoxin assay to ensure that all patients entering the study have active CDI, as well as to confirm CDI recurrences during the study (i.e., the ECOSPOR III primary endpoint).
Seres plans to initiate a SER-109 Expanded Access Program at selected clinical sites participating in the ongoing Phase 3 ECOSPOR III study, and the Company may also initiate the program at additional clinical sites for eligible patients to have access to SER-109.
Prior completed clinical studies have demonstrated SER-109 bacterial engraftment into the gastrointestinal microbiome, and that engraftment is associated with reduced recurrence of CDI. In all prior clinical studies, SER-109 was associated with a favorable safety profile.
The FDA has issued several safety alerts related to Fecal Microbiota Transplantation (FMT) and the risk of pathogen transmission including warnings related to Multi-Drug Resistant Organisms and SARS-CoV-2, the virus linked to COVID-19 (June 12, 2019Alert; March 12, 2020Alert; and March 23, 2020Alert). Unapproved FMT is widely used under an FDA Enforcement Discretion policy for the treatment of recurrent CDI that is not responsive to standard therapies.
In contrast to FMT, SER-109 is comprised of a highly purified consortia of spore-based commensal bacteria and is manufactured under Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) conditions using stringent standards to ensure product quality and consistency. Seres utilizes a unique manufacturing process which has been demonstrated to inactivate numerous potential pathogens, including species of non-spore bacteria, such as Escherichia coli, and viruses. The Company’s manufacturing process inactivates many emerging potential pathogens where diagnostic assays may not yet be available, such as SARS-CoV-2. Seres has issued a position statement highlighting the criticality of including pathogen inactivation processes in the manufacture of microbiome therapeutics. Recent discussions with the FDA have indicated agency support regarding the fundamental differentiation between FMT and Seres’ product candidates.
COVID-19 Impact and Other Clinical Program Updates
Seres continues to monitor the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Company operations and ongoing clinical development activity, including the SER-287 Phase 2b study in ulcerative colitis, the SER-401 Phase 1b study in metastatic melanoma, and SER-301, a rationally designed, fermented development candidate for ulcerative colitis. Mitigation activities to minimize COVID-19-related operation disruptions are ongoing; however, given the severity and evolving nature of the situation, the timing of SER-287 Phase 2b and SER-401 Phase 1b clinical readouts is uncertain. Seres does not anticipate disruptions to the availability of its drug product candidates for ongoing studies.
The SER-287 Phase 2b study is currently approximately 60% enrolled based on the 201-patient target study size. SER-287 development activity has been adversely impacted by multiple clinical sites halting non-essential procedures, including endoscopies, which may make it difficult to achieve the original enrollment target in H2 2020 as planned. Seres is evaluating enrollment mitigation strategies and possible trial design modifications with the goal of obtaining a high-quality, clinically meaningful dataset within a timeframe consistent with Seres’ prior guidance for its cash runway extending into the second quarter of 2021. Furthermore, the Company is encouraged by the FDA’s indications of flexibility in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, and plans to engage the FDA in discussions regarding any potential trial modifications.
Seres continues to execute on activities to advance SER-301 clinical development and the planned initiation of patient dosing in Australia and New Zealand later this year.