SAVE THE DATES to listen in to the leading topic expert presentations
shared on January 15, 2021, at the Patient, Family, Caregiver Symposium:
Beginning Tuesday, March 9 from 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. EST following through on
March 16, March 23, and March 30.
A Symposium specifically developed for Patients Diagnosed With a C. diff. Infection, Being Treated For a Clostridioides diffiicile infection, Recovering From a Clostridioides difficile Infection and Recurrences with Family Members and Caregivers.
The Patient & Family C. diff. Symposium was a gathering of healthcare professionals, keynote speakers, health advocates, practitioners, educators, thought leaders, and patients who are transforming the patient experience and changing the way people experience C. diff. infections worldwide.
Unlike other conferences on this topic, patients will share their C. diff. infection journeys, providing a real-world perspective on patient experience. Our attendees will learn more from this virtual-online symposium and gain knowledge on important topics that will better aid their care and recovery through tools and strategies delivered by keynote speakers.
The Symposium followed the C Diff Foundation Mission statement – Educating and Advocating for the prevention, treatments, clinical trials, diagnostics, and environmental safety of Clostridioides difficile (C. diff.) infections worldwide.
Keynote speakers presented up-to-date data to expand on the existing knowledge and provide important information focused on, yet not limited to, a Clostridioides difficile infection (also known as C. diff., C. difficile, CDAD, CDI) ……
Clinical trials and studies
Introduction to Microbiome Research and Studies
Fecal Microbiota Restoration and Transplants
We hope you enjoy the broadcasts!
Program Chair: Paul Feuerstadt, MD, FACG
Barbara McGovern, MD “Treatment of recurrent C. difficile infection with SER-109, an investigational microbiome drug.”
Paul Feuerstadt, MD ” C. diff. Overview – What is a C. diff. Infection?”
– 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
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.
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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.
As published in Seres Therapeutics Press Release January 31, 2017
Findings suggest that both misdiagnosis of C. difficile recurrent infection in some patients, and dosing that may have been suboptimal in certain patients, contributed to the previously reported SER-109 Phase 2 study outcome –
FDA discussions are ongoing regarding a new, redesigned clinical study for SER-109
CAMBRIDGE, Mass., On January 31, 2017 —Seres Therapeutics Inc., a leading microbiome
therapeutics platform company, reported that it has completed in-depth analyses of the previously reported SER-109 Phase 2, eight-week clinical study data in patients with multiply recurrent Clostridium difficile infection.
The company also reported the full, 24-week SER-109 Phase 2 study results and open label extension study data.
“Since obtaining the unexpected SER-109 clinical study results last summer, we have undertaken a comprehensive assessment of the program to understand the reasons for the results,” said Roger J. Pomerantz, M.D., President, CEO and Chairman of Seres.
“We have now identified specific factors that we believe contributed to the Phase 2 results, including issues related to both the accurate diagnosis of C. difficile recurrent infection, and potential suboptimal dosing of certain subjects in the trial. The SER-109 analyses were recently shared with the FDA, and we are actively discussing the design of a new clinical trial for SER-109. There remains a compelling need for an effective, safe, and convenient FDA approved therapy for patients with recurrent C. difficile infection, and this investigation provides insights to guide further clinical development of SER-109.”
Investigation Summary: C. difficile Diagnosis: Analysis was conducted to evaluate both the role of C. difficile diagnostic testing in defining the correct SER-109 Phase 2 study entry population, and in the proper diagnosis of C. difficile recurrences during the study. In the Phase 2 study, 81% of study subjects (72 of 89 subjects) were enrolled based on polymerase chain reaction (PCR) based testing for C. difficile, as well as clinical evaluation. An important and increasingly well-appreciated limitation of PCR testing is that while a positive result indicates that C. difficile cytotoxin genes are present, a positive PCR test does not necessarily indicate thatthe organism is viable and producing disease causing cytotoxins, nor that C. difficile is the source of clinical symptoms.1
Two separate observations were made pertaining to the effects of discordant results from PCR and cytotoxin assay on the SER-109 trial. The qualifying stool samples evaluated for Phase 2 study entry were not available for retesting for cytotoxin, however, the company was able to retest the samples associated with patients entering the open label extension trial for the presence of the C. difficile cytotoxin and determined that only 44% of samples (15 of 31 subjects) that tested positive by PCR testing also tested positive based on C. difficile cytotoxin assay. These results suggest that a substantial proportion of patients who entered the SER-109 Phase 2 study may have been C. difficile carriers and, therefore, C. difficile infection may not have been the source of the clinical symptoms. In addition, data from this analysis suggest that the use of PCR to measure C. difficile may have overestimated study recurrences in both treatment arms of the Phase 2 trial, further complicating interpretation of study results. This was shown by reanalysis of samples with cytotoxin assay, from patients diagnosed as recurrent in the Phase 2 study. In this retesting, between one quarter andone half of presumed study recurrences may not have been true C. difficile infections leading to pathology.
From the analyses described above, the company believes that misdiagnoses may have occurred both in some patients entering the SER-109 trial, as well as for recurrences diagnosed during the trial.
The company performed an in-depth analysis to examine SER-109 biological activity in the Phase 2 trial, as measured by microbiome changes in patients and downstream biological effects in the gastrointestinal tract. Results demonstrated a statistically significant increase in the richness of commensal spore-forming bacterial species in patients treated with SER-109, as compared to those receiving placebo. These data demonstrate that SER-109 successfully engrafted and was biologically active in the Phase 2 study. In addition, among those patients with an increased prevalence of specific SER-109 associated bacterial species, a decreasedrate of high confidence recurrences (i.e., recurrences confirmed by C. difficile cytotoxin assay) was demonstrated.
The company also assessed whether the SER-109 dose impacted the degree of microbiome changes observed. All Phase 2 patients received 1 X 10 8 bacterial spores, whereas patients in the prior SER-109 Phase 1b open label study received doses ranging approximately 700-fold, from 3 X 107 to 2 X 109 spores. The company also performed high-resolution whole metagenomics sequencing of stool samples collected from patients in both the SER-109 Phase 1b, as well as the Phase 2 trial as part of this analysis. The analysis indicated that subjects in the open-label Phase 1b study who received a higher dose achieved a significantly greater increase in diversity of commensal spore-former bacteria by 1 week post-treatment, as compared to both Phase 1b and Phase 2 subjects treated with lower doses. These results suggest that the dose used in the SER-109 Phase 2 study may have been suboptimal in certain patients, and may have resulted in a less robust drug effect, contributing to decreased efficacy in Phase 2, as compared to the Phase 1b study.
Much of the SER-109 Phase 2 microbiome-related learnings are based on advancements in the computational analytics and higher resolution whole metagenomics sequencing techniques that Seres is pioneering, and several of these methods were developed after the SER-109 Phase 2 study was designed. Insights obtained from this work may also
benefit Seres’ broad preclinical and clinical microbiome development pipeline.
Analysis of SER-109 Phase 2 Study Clinical Drug Product
The company also conducted a thorough and detailed investigation of the potential impacts of manufacturing and formulation changes implemented in the Phase 2 study. No issues regarding product quality or formulation were identified which would have impacted the Phase 2 study results.
Summary of SER-109 24-Week and Open Label Extension Study Results
The full, 24-week Phase 2 study results continue to demonstrate that SER-109 was generally well tolerated. The most common adverse events associated with SER-109 included diarrhea, abdominal pain and flatulence. The Phase 2 study population represented older individuals, many in poor health, and a high rate of serious adverse events (SAEs) was reported in both study arms. A numerically higher rate of SAEs was observed in the SER-109 arm (15.0% versus 10.3% for placebo), however there was no detectable pattern in the SAEs observed, and none of these were considered to be SER-109 drug-related by the study investigators.
As expected with recurrent C. difficile infection, relatively few additional recurrences occurred beyond 8 weeks, and the 24-week data provides relatively little new information regarding efficacy. Based on 24-week data, five further patients recurred in the SER-109 arm, but three of the five recurrences (60%) were in patients who terminated the trial early, resulting in an imputed recurrence. In the placebo arm, one patient also terminated the trial early, resulting in an imputed recurrence. Early terminations, and loss of patients to follow-up, are common in the long safety follow-up portions of clinical trials.
Phase 2 study subjects who experienced a C. difficile recurrence had the option to enroll in an open label extension study, where they were treated with SER-109 and were followed for an additional 24 weeks. In total, 34 patients entered the open label extension study and 11 patients recurred during the initial 8-week study period, a 32% recurrence rate.
About Seres Therapeutics: Seres Therapeutics, Inc. is a leading microbiome therapeutics platform company developing a novel class of biological drugs that are designed to treat disease by restoring the function of a dysbiotic microbiome, where the natural state of bacterial diversity and function is imbalanced. The Phase 2 study of Seres’ program SER-109 has been completed in multiply recurrent C. difficile infection. Seres’ second clinical candidate, SER-287, is being evaluated in a Phase 1b study in patients with mild-to-moderate ulcerative colitis (UC). Seres is also developing SER-262, the first ever synthetic microbiome therapeutic candidate, in a Phase 1b study in patients with primary C. difficile infection. For more information, please visit http://www.serestherapeutics.com. Follow us on Twitter @SeresTx.
Forward-looking Statements: This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. All statements contained in this press release that do not relate to matters of historical fact should be considered forward-looking statements, including without limitation statements regarding our SER-109 development plans, the timing, design, and potential results of a new clinical study for SER-109, the potential for a redesigned trial to provide different results, and the impact any analysis may have on clinical outcomes.
These forward-looking statements are based on management’s current expectations. These statements are neither promises nor guarantees, but involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other important factors that may cause our actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements, including, but not limited to, the following: we have incurred significant losses, are not currently profitable and may never become profitable; our need for additional funding, which may not be available; our limited operating history; the unpredictable nature of our early stage development efforts for marketable drugs; the unproven approach to therapeutic intervention of our microbiome therapeutics; the lengthy and expensive process of clinical drug development, which has an uncertain outcome; potential delays in enrollment of patients which could affect the receipt of necessary regulatory approvals; potential delays in regulatory approval, which would impact the ability to commercialize our product candidates and affect our ability to generate revenue; any fast track or Breakthrough Therapy designation may not lead to faster development, regulatory approval or marketing approval; our possible inability to receive orphan drug designation should we choose to seek it; our reliance on third parties to conduct our clinical trials and the potential for those third parties to not perform satisfactorily; our reliance on third parties to manufacture our product candidates, which may delay, prevent or impair our development and commercialization efforts; our lack of experience in manufacturing our product candidates; the potential failure of our product candidates to be accepted on the market by the medical community; our lack of experience selling, marketing and distributing products and our lack of internal capability to do so; failure to compete successfully against other drug companies; potential competition from biosimilars; failure to obtain marketing approval internationally; post-marketing restrictions or withdrawal from the market; anti-kickback, fraud, abuse, and other healthcare laws and regulations exposing us to potential criminal sanctions; recently enacted or future legislation; compliance with environmental, health, and safety laws and regulations; protection of our proprietary technology; protection of the confidentiality of our trade secrets; changes in United States patent law; potential lawsuits for infringement of third-party intellectual property; our patents being found invalid or unenforceable; compliance with patent regulations; claims challenging the inventorship or ownership of our patents and other intellectual property; claims asserting that we or our employees misappropriated a third-party’s intellectual property or otherwise claiming ownership of what we regard as our intellectual property; adequate protection of our trademarks; ability to attract and retain key executives; managing our growth could result in difficulties; risks associated with international operations; potential system failures; the price of our common stock may fluctuate substantially; our executive officers, directors, and principal stockholders have the ability to control all matters submitted to the stockholders; a significant portion of our total outstanding shares are eligible to be sold into the market; unfavorable or lacking analyst research or reports; and we are currently subject to securities class action litigation. These and other important factors discussed under the caption “Risk Factors” in our Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, or SEC, on November 10, 2016 and our other reports filed with the SEC, could cause actual results to differ materially from those indicated by the forward-looking statements made in this press release. Any such forward-looking statements represent management’s estimates as of the date of this press release. While we may elect to update such forward-looking statements at some point in the future, we disclaim any obligation to do so, even if subsequent events cause our views to change. These forward-looking statements should not be relied upon as representing our views as of any date subsequent to the date of this press release.
Polage, C. R., et al. (2015). Overdiagnosis of Clostridium difficile Infection in the Molecular Test Era. JAMA Internal Medicine, 175(11), 1792–1801.
IR or PR Contact:
Carlo Tanzi, Ph.D., Seres Therapeutics, 617-203-3467
Head of Investor Relations and Corporate Communications
The microbiome of patients admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) at a hospital differs dramatically from that of healthy patients, according to a new study published in mSphere.
Researchers analyzing microbial taxa in ICU patients’ guts, mouth and skin reported finding dysbiosis, or a bacterial imbalance, that worsened during a patient’s stay in the hospital. Compared to healthy people, ICU patients had depleted populations of commensal, health-promoting microbes and higher counts of bacterial taxa with pathogenic strains – leaving patients vulnerable to hospital-acquired infections that may lead to sepsis, organ failure and potentially death.
What is dysbiosis? Pathogens, antibiotic use, diet, inflammation, and other forces can cause dysbiosis, a disruption in these microbial ecosystems that can lead to or perpetuate disease (1)
What makes a gut microbiome healthy or not remains poorly defined in the field. Nonetheless, researchers suspect that critical illness requiring a stay in the ICU is associated with the the loss of bacteria that help keep a person healthy. The new study, which prospectively monitored and tracked changes in bacterial makeup, delivers evidence for that hypothesis.
“The results were what we feared them to be,” says study leader Paul Wischmeyer, an anesthesiologist at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. “We saw a massive depletion of normal, health-promoting species.”
Wischmeyer, who will move to Duke University in the fall, runs a lab that focuses on nutrition-related interventions to improve outcomes for critically ill patients.
He notes that treatments used in the ICU – including courses of powerful antibiotics, medicines to sustain blood pressure, and lack of nutrition – can reduce the population of known healthy bacteria. An understanding of how those changes affect patient outcomes could guide the development of targeted interventions to restore bacterial balance, which in turn could reduce the risk of infection by dangerous pathogens.
Previous studies have tracked microbiome changes in individual or small numbers of critically ill patients, but Wischmeyer and his collaborators analyzed skin, stool, and oral samples from 115 ICU patients across four hospitals in the United States and Canada. They analyzed bacterial populations in the samples twice – once 48 hours after admission, and again after 10 days in the ICU (or when the patient was discharged). They also recorded what the patients ate, what treatments patients received, and what infections patients incurred.
The researchers compared their data to data collected from a healthy subset of people who participated in the American Gut project dataset. (American Gut is a crowd-sourced project aimed at characterizing the human microbiome by the Rob Knight Lab at the University of California San Diego.) They reported that samples from ICU patients showed lower levels of Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes bacteria, two of the largest groups of microbes in the gut, and higher abundances of Proteobacteria, which include many pathogens.
Wischmeyer was surprised by how quickly the microbiome changed in the patients. “We saw the rapid rise of organisms clearly associated with disease,” he says. “In some cases, those organisms became 95 percent of the entire gut flora – all made up of one pathogenic taxa – within days of admission to the ICU. That was really striking.” Notably, the researchers reported that some of the patient microbiomes, even at the time of admission, resembled the microbiomes of corpses. “That happened in more people than we would like to have seen,” he says.
Wischmeyer suggests the microbiome could be tracked like other vital signs and could potentially be used to identify patient problems and risks before they become symptomatic. In addition, now that researchers have begun to understand how the microbiome changes in the ICU, Wischmeyer says the next step is to use the data to identify therapies – perhaps including probiotics – to restore a healthy bacterial balance to patients.
Everyone who collaborated on the project – including dietitians, pharmacists, statisticians, critical care physicians, and computer scientists – participated on a largely voluntary basis without significant funding to explore the role of the microbiome in ICU medicine, says Wischmeyer.
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