Tag Archives: Seres Therapeutics

Microbiome – C. diff. Treatments On The Horizon

NewsUpdate

 

 

 

PROBIOTICS:

Pick a disease or disorder, and somebody, somewhere, has said that a probiotic supplement—an over-the-counter, unregulated pill usually filled with a single strain of friendly gut bacteria—might cure it, whether it’s cancer, obsessive-compulsive disorder, or a yeast infection.

But there’s very little evidence that probiotic supplements do any good. “There’s a lot of promise here but not a lot of proof yet,” said Cliff McDonald, associate director for science at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion.

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CDC Reports:

Half a million people a year are infected with C. diff in the U.S., the CDC estimates, with 29,000 annual deaths related to the diarrheic bacterium. More than 65 percent of C. diff infections involve exposure in a health-care facility, according to a 2015 study, creating more than $4.8 billion in excess health-care costs at acute-care facilities alone.

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C. diff. Treatments On The Horizon:

To Learn More About ALL C. diff. Clinical Trials In Progress Click On The Following Link:

https://cdifffoundation.org/clinical-trials-2/

 

Seres Therapeutics, a microbiome-based biopharmaceutical company in Cambridge, Mass., is developing a pill, subject to a rigorous approval process under the Food and Drug Administration, to tackle recurrent Clostridium difficile. (The digestive system’s microbiome is the community of healthy gut bacteria that normally reside in the body.)

Seres aims to put the science behind a proven treatment of recurrent C. diff, fecal transplants, in a pill, which wouldn’t require a colonoscopy. Like probiotic supplements, it’s a gut bacteria product. Unlike the supplements, by the time it’s available it will have gone through the FDA wringer. It will contain about 50 strains of bacteria proven effective in treating C. diff and will require a doctor’s prescription.

Recurrent C. diff is an obvious entry point for Seres, said Chief Executive Officer Roger Pomerantz. “We asked, what is the lowest-hanging fruit?” But it’s hardly the end. The company has built a microbiome library of 14,000 strains of human bacteria it hopes will help it treat a range of diseases, eventually without needing feces at all.   Seres has embarked on the research with some pretty lofty goals, including finding treatments for obesity, liver disease, and cancer. It has partnerships with Massachusetts General Hospital, the Mayo Clinic, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and other respected medical institutions.  “We will figure out exactly what’s wrong with the microbiome, design a drug, and then pull the organisms out with our library, never touching a human donation,” Pomerantz said.    Seres’s lead product candidate, SER-109, will treat recurrent C. diff with four capsules taken orally instead of with transplants. While fecal matter is the raw material for the pills, the final product consists only of the spores necessary to treat the infection, which will have been extracted and purified.  SER-109 is expected to become the first oral microbiome therapy approved by the FDA, though Seres declined to predict exactly when it will arrive. Results from the latest trials are due by midyear, and Phase 3 trials are scheduled to follow later in the year. Seres hopes to follow up quickly with SER-287, a drug to treat ulcerative colitis, which could be the first microbiome drug to treat a chronic disease, and SER-262, to treat primary C. diff before it turns into the recurrent kind.

Other companies are racing to collect enough data for FDA approval, but right now Seres, which is publicly traded, looks to be the one to beat. “Seres is probably going to be the first one that’s going to knock at the FDA’s door,” said Mohan Iyer, chief business officer at Second Genome, a microbiome company studying how to treat disease with the compounds produced by gut bacteria instead of the gut bacteria themselves.

“SER-109 is poised to be first-in-class among fecal microbiota transplant-derived drugs,” Joseph Schwartz, an analyst at Leerink Partners, wrote in a May report. The report says the latest trial results “wowed the Street” but warns that the company could still be held back by “disappointing clinical data” and obstacles in the regulatory process.

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Another top contender is Rebiotix. Its RBX2660 is also designed to treat recurrent C. diff but, unlike SER-109, is administered with an enema; an oral version is in development. The treatment also differs significantly from Seres’s in formulation, including thousands of kinds of microbes from the donor’s stool, compared with SER-109’s 50 or so, as many as could be preserved and some of which haven’t even been identified.

“We make sure we have a minimum concentration of certain kinds that we know the patients lack,” CEO Lee Jones said. “But we don’t identify all of them. There’s no way to do that.” A recent study estimated that 1014 bacteria are in the human gut, most of which have never been isolated. Jones said the drug could hit the market by 2018.

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  • UPDATES:

The medications have been shown to be similarly effective—with no C. diff-associated diarrhea for 29 of 30 of Seres’s patients  and  27 of 31 of Rebiotix’s, in the companies’ latest results—and equally safe. Adverse reactions for both are limited to such problems as moderate diarrhea and abdominal cramping, which could be from the C. diff itself. Both have been designated as “breakthrough therapies” by the FDA, allowing for an expedited approval process, and both are likely soon to provide an at-home alternative to fecal transplants.

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Point Of View:

“I don’t know who is going to make it across the line first,” said Gail Hecht, director of gastroenterology and nutrition at Loyola University Medical Center and chairwoman of the American Gastroenterological Association for Gut Microbiome Research & Education. Hecht has attended a Seres advisory board meeting but doesn’t have a financial interest in the company. “It is indeed a race,” she said.

Seres does have at least one distinct market advantage. “Patients have different preferences,” Hecht observes, but “in general, people don’t particularly like enemas.”

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Human Fecal Transplants:

For nearly two thousand years, doctors have looked to this unlikeliest of places for medicine. One of the earliest documented applications is from the fourth-century Chinese medical doctor Ge Hong, whose “yellow soup” recipe to treat diarrhea included a healthy person’s dried or fermented feces. Sixteen hundred years later, in 1958, patients infected with C. diff received the first known human fecal transplants.

Stool Bank Information: 

Today the effectiveness of fecal transplants (formally known as fecal microbiota transplants) to treat recurrent C. diff is supported by a long list of studies, with researchers attributing the results to the restoration of the microbiome. OpenBiome, a nonprofit stool bank, shipped 1,828 treatments in 2014, a number that ballooned to 7,140 treatments in 2015 and looks to be eclipsed this year, with 4,323 treatments shipped to its clinical partners through May 31. And these numbers don’t take into account the transplants performed through directed fecal donations.

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To read article in its entirety:

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-06-30/coming-soon-gut-bacteria-that-actually-cure-your-disease

Highlights — 4th Annual International “Raising C. diff. Awareness” Conference — Boston

symposium

THE C DIFF FOUNDATION 

  4th ANNUAL

INTERNATIONAL RAISING C. diff. AWARENESS CONFERENCE

HIGHLIGHTS — PROMISE & CHALLENGES IN C. diff.  TREATMENT

Part 1: Novel Approaches and Therapies in Development

The Centers for Disease Control first recognized C. difficile infection (CDI) as an urgent threat to public health in September 2013. However, I first began to understand the impact on patients in 2008 when I was first diagnosed with Clostridium difficile (C. diff).  My journeys, including many months of illness (nine recurrent CDI) which  included a referral to hospice care before finally being correctly treated in 2009.  Henceforth; I was no stranger to this diagnosis with over two decades of  Nursing and witnessing the loss of my Father, whose life was claimed by C. difficile involvement in 2004.

C. diff.  has left me with serious health complications. Though I returned to my career as a Nurse for a brief time, I was diagnosed with an entirely new  C. diff infection in 2011– enduring  nine recurrences through the following year.  Another year  taken away from C. diff..

Like many other patients, the physical, financial and emotional toll has been great – not only on me, but also on my family.  Yet, through my  journeys and what I have learned in the process has inspired me to help others affected by C. diff.  and share with fellow healthcare professionals through educating and advocating for C. difficile infection prevention, treatments, and environmental safety worldwide.

I was proud to kick off the third annual International Raising C. diff Awareness Conference & Health EXPO in Cambridge, MA last fall.   The Annual Conference is one of many important initiatives the C Diff Foundation undertakes to build awareness, advance advocacy and support research to address the public health threat posed by this devastating, life-threatening  infection and common healthcare-associated infection.

Through the Conference–  the C Diff Foundation offers perspective from world renowned experts on C. difficile infection prevention, treatment and research, with discussions ranging from pharmaceutical options to environmental safety products.

♦ Here are the  highlights from our guest speakers ♦

Bezlotoxumab

Dr. Mary Beth Dorr, Director of Clinical Research, Infectious Diseases at Merck, presented the most recent data on the company’s C. diff antitoxin, bezlotoxumab. Nearest to potential FDA approval among new options for patients, bezlotoxumab would be used as an adjunct to standard antibiotic regimens for C. diff, with a goal of reducing recurrences—something for which no other drug has been approved.

Merck’s first trial, MODIFY 1 (Monoclonal Antibodies For C. DIFficile Therapy), included 1,412 patients globally. In addition to standard treatment of care, patients received a single intravenous infusion of either the antitoxin actoxumab (binds to the C. diff toxin A) or bezlotoxumab (binds to the C. diff toxin B) alone, or the two in combination, or a placebo.

This study called for a pre-specified interim analysis allowing for modifications in the trial after 40% of patients had completed a 12-week follow-up. As a result, actoxumab alone was dropped from further study as it did not provide added efficacy over bezlotoxumab alone or the combination of bezlotoxumab and actoxumab.

The MODIFY 2 trial evaluated an additional 1,163 patients who received standard antibiotic treatment for C. diff plus either bezlotoxumab alone, or the combination of bezlotoxumab and actoxumab, or placebo. The primary endpoint was prevention of a recurrence of C. diff infection at 12 weeks defined as a new episode of diarrhea and a positive stool test for toxigenic C. diff.

Many of the patients in the trial were quite ill: 17% had severe CDI, 18% had the more virulent PCR ribotype 027 strain, and about 20% were immunocompromised.

For the two studies overall, the rates of recurrent C. diff were significantly less in patients receiving bezlotoxumab alone than placebo (17% vs. 28%). Adverse events were no different in the treatment and placebo groups.

Because there was no benefit to the combination of the two antibodies, bezlotoxumab alone was selected for new drug applications submitted to the US FDA and European Medicines Agency seeking marketing approval.

Ecobiotics  — A Novel Approach To Recurrent CDI’s

Fecal microbial therapy, also referred to as FMT or stool transplants, generated much discussion. However; this therapeutic approach aiming to change the gut microbiome, the collection of bacteria and other microorganisms in and on our bodies, is being studied in clinical trials by two of the presenters.

Dr. David Cook, PhD, Executive Vice President of Research and Development and Chief Scientific Officer, Seres Therapeutics, spoke about “ecobiotic therapeutic restoration.” He noted that a dysbiotic, or imbalanced microbiome, is increasingly linked to multiple diseases including C. difficile infection, inflammatory bowel disease, and metabolic diseases like diabetes mellitus.   ECOSPOR ™ is their current Phase 2 clinical study focused on the safety and efficacy of SER-109, a drug for the potential prevention of recurrent Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) in adults who have had three or more episode of CDI within the previous nine months.

In its Phase 2 study, Seres used spores from the Clostridiales group of organisms, treated to decrease the risk of any pathogen transmission. A small group of patients with > 3 prior CDIs were given two doses of a mixture of strains of spores by mouth and followed up for 8 weeks. In this study, 13 of 15 (87%) patients met the primary endpoint of no recurrent diarrhea associated with a positive test for C. diff.

Another study, using a slightly smaller dose of spores, had the same findings. Overall, 29 of 30 (97%) patients had clinical resolution of their diarrhea; the improvement persisted at 24 weeks. A slightly larger Phase 2 study is underway now and Phase 3 studies are planned for 2016. The drug has received breakthrough and orphan drug designations from the FDA. Seres’ drug also reduced carriage of or colonization by multi-drug resistant organisms (MDRO), including Klebsiella, Providencia, and Vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE), all of which are recognized by the CDC as urgent or emerging health threats.

RBX2660  —  Therapeutic Microbiota Restoration

Dr. Lee Jones, Foundress and CEO of Rebiotix, presented ongoing studies with RBX2660. Their product, RBX2660, which also aims to restore a gut microbiome altered by CDI, has been designated a drug, rather than a tissue transplant, by the FDA and has received fast track, orphan drug, and breakthrough therapy designations. The liquid microbial suspension packaged for enema delivery is manufactured differently than fecal microbial transplants, and the end-product is standardized and ready for administration.

The initial Phase 2 study, PUNCH™, was open-label and included 30 patients with at least two recurrences of C. diff requiring hospitalization. With a 6-month follow-up period, this trial had an 87% efficacy rate and no recurrences. A second 120 patient randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind trial (PUNCH CD 2) is ongoing. Rebiotix is also developing an oral formulation and planning trials for other indications.

Vaccines

Approaches to vaccination were also discussed at the conference by the companies leading those research initiatives. Mucosal vaccination, to protect people from pathogens that enter or cause harm at the mucosal surface, or lining of our gastrointestinal or respiratory tracts, has been used in developing a variety of vaccines, including polio, typhoid, and experimental influenza vaccinations. Dr. Simon Cutting, PhD, Professor of Molecular Microbiology at
Royal Holloway, University of London
, explained the rationale behind this approach and reviewed supporting animal data. If approved, this vaccine would be administered orally.
These studies are still in early development.

Dr. Patricia Pietrobon, Associate Vice President, Research and Development, C. diff Program Leader at Sanofi Pasteur, presented an update on the company’s vaccine, H-030-012, which relies on injection of an inactivated whole toxin to both C. diff toxins A and B. Sanofi’s vaccine showed immunogenicity in patients in Phase 2 studies, and was the first vaccine to be awarded fast track approval by the FDA. Their vaccine showed an antibody response and immunologic boost after a dose at 6 months, suggesting vaccination might confer long-term protection from C. diff. A 15,000 participant, 5-year, global trial is underway, hoping to provide long-term immunity to C. diff.

Several other approaches for C. diff prevention and treatment were presented:
The first, described by Dr. Klaus Gottleib, MD, FACG, Vice President, Clinical Development and Regulatory Affairs, Synthetic Biologics, involves use of a beta-lactamase enzyme given orally in combination with a patient receiving a beta-lactam (penicillin or cephalosporin) antibiotic. The antibiotics would still have full efficacy in the blood or soft tissue, but the company’s hypothesis is that the enzyme will destroy unneeded antibiotic in the gut and will prevent
C. diff from developing by reducing alteration in the gut flora.
Their drug, SYN-004, is in Phase 2 trial development.

Dr. Martha Clokie, Ph.D.  Leicester UK, Professor in Microbiology.  Dr. Cloakie’s research focuses on phages that infect bacterial pathogens of medical relevance and  is focusing on  targeting  C. diff without altering the rest of the microbiome in preclinical studies. Hoping to destroy
C. diff with a biological warfare approach, she focuses on phages, tiny virus-like particles that infect bacteria.

Dr. Melanie Thompson, Ph.D.  is studying an older drug used for rheumatoid arthritis, auranofin, in Australia. Auranofin targets the selenium metabolism of C. diff, and is likely to be fairly specific treatment against that bacterium.

 

Part 2 – Challenges in Testing and Infection Management

 

Challenges

Testing

Among the key presentations, Dr. Mark Wilcox, MD, FRCPath, Head of Microbiology and Academic Lead of Pathology at the Leeds Teaching Hospitals, Professor of Medical Microbiology at the University of Leeds, lead on Clostridium difficile for Public Health England, and Chairman of the conference, addressed the challenges of diagnosing C. diff..  From knowing who to test, to which test to employ, the state of testing poses challenges in accurately determining the number of CDI cases and in comparing rates over time or between locations.

He raised important questions for the medical community to address:

  •  Who should be tested?
  • Which tests should be used?
  • How do we measure accuracy between tests in order to compare infection rates over time and by location?

Dr. Wilcox showed data from the Euclid Study in Europe looking at approximately 4,000 stool samples submitted to participating hospital labs on a given day, whether or not a test for           C. diff. was ordered.  The data shows that about 25% of cases were missed by the hospitals, but were picked up by a centralized reference lab.  On a single day, 246 patients (6.3%) received an incorrect result from their hospital.  The translates to about 40,000 cases of CDI missed in Europe alone per year and underscoring that CDI is far more common, and commonly missed than appreciated, making it hard to grasp both the magnitude of the problem and the treat individual patients.

Barley Chironda, RPN, CIC, Manager of Infection Prevention and Medical Device Reprocessing at St. Joseph’s Health Centre, Toronto, Ontario, Canada also addressed the topic of testing in acknowledging that some physicians may also be reluctant to order C. diff. tests both because the tests can be hard to interpret, and because there may be perceived disincentives for detecting and reporting the infection .  Hospitals can be penalized financially for infections acquired in the hospital as well as receive lower quality of care ratings.

Antibiotic Stewardship

While there is confusion over how to test for C. diff. there is a general understanding as to what we must do to contain the epidemic — use fewer antibiotics.  Currently, up to 85% of patients with C. difficile associated diarrhea (CDAD) have received antibiotics in the 28 days before their CDI occurred.  More than 1/2 of all hospital patients receive an antibiotic, as do almost all surgical patients.  Estimates are that 30 – 50% of antibiotic use is unnecessary or inappropriate.

As Dr. Hudson Garrett, Jr., PhD, MSN, MPH, FNP, CSRN, VA-BC, Vice President, Clinical Affairs, PDI, Nice-Pak, and Sani Professional, explained, education of both healthcare workers and patients is needed.  Prescribers need to limit antibiotic use to the most specific or narrowest spectrum antibiotic they can, and patients need to learn that antibiotics are not helpful for colds or viral infections.

If use of broad-spectrum antibiotics in hospitals is reduced by 30%, the CDC has estimated there will be 26% fewer CDI’s.  Garrett stressed the importance of good leadership and multidisciplinary approach to the success of an antibiotic stewardship program, emphasizing the need for engagement, education and involvement from the top administrators, physicians, pharmacists, and patients,

Another concern is the overuse of the class of antibiotics called quinolones.  An especially toxic and severe strain of C. diff. NAP2/027/B1 has been emerging, seemingly driven by the use of fluoroquinolone antibiotics.  Quinolones are a widely prescribed class of antibiotics often used in treating pneumonia.

Limiting antibiotics and more appropriate use is not just for people — it is also important in agriculture.  There is a growing concern that contaminated products — both meat and                 produce — may transmit resistant organisms to people and spread C. diff. outside healthcare facilities.

Infection Control

Controlling the spread of  C. diff.  is a challenge.  While previously believed to be strictly a             healthcare-associated infection, recent findings show that many patients acquire C. diff. in the community.

As part of his presentation, “Behind the Scenes;  C. difficile Management in Health from the lens of an Infection Preventionist, ”  Barley Chronda, also reviewed infection control issues, focusing on the importance of cleaning.  He noted that 11% of occupants in a hospital room would acquire C. diff. if a prior patient had the infection.

The issues hospitals face include:

  •  A lack of dedicated equipment which may allow for the spread of C. diff. spores on items like stethoscopes and blood pressure cuffs;
  • Isolation for patients with diarrhea or incontinence with consideration for patient symptoms, hospital costs and appropriate patient care;
  • Lack of clarity re: responsibility for cleaning specific items, and what type of cleaning agent to use, as many products do not inactivate spores.  Clorox ® and UV-C Xenon, a high-energy, full spectrum ™ pulsed Xenon Ultraviolet Light by Xenex — both sponsors of the Conference, were addressed as options for CDI and a variety of multi-drug resistant organisms.
  • Hand-washing (Hand Hygiene) as many hospitals lack conveniently placed sinks and rely on alcohol hand sanitize gels and solutions,.  While alcohol is great for reducing most bacterial contamination, it is ineffective against C. diff. spores.

The Patient Journey Continues

Nancy Sheridan an Educator and  Volunteer Patient Advocate, represented the voice of the many patients who face the challenges of being diagnosed,  treated, and surviving a C. diff.  infection and shared her experience with the audience.  After developing diverticulitis complicated by a perforated colon following an overseas trip.  Nancy was treated with antibiotics and developed diarrhea.  Though doctors thought she might have a travel – related infection, she insisted on being tested for C. diff. and found C. diff. was causing her severe symptoms.  She suffered recurrent C. diff. infections, forcing her to take a leave of absence from her job.  In addition to the loss of income and mounting medical bills, she described feeling “defeated and broken.”

Desperate, housebound, in pain, and having a marked weight loss from her recurrent vomiting and bloody diarrhea, she asked for a fecal transplant.  Despite multiple refusals, she persisted.  Eight months after her ordeal began, Nancy received the stool transplant.  She describes her recovery as “miraculous” and within a few weeks, she was back to her teaching and active life.  Nancy concluded her story by reminding us that on any given day, 1 of 25 hospitalized patients becomes infected with C. diff. noting “the risk of contracting this deadly infection is too  great to remain uninformed.”

That message – from Nancy Sheridan, from the professionals who support us, and the patients who we hear from each day on our U.S. national Hot-Line (1-844-FOR-CDIF) continue to drive us in educating, and advocating for C. diff. infection prevention, treatments, environmental safety, and providing support worldwide.

About The C Diff Foundation
The C Diff Foundation is a leading non-profit organization founded in 2012 by Nancy Caralla, a Nurse who was diagnosed and treated for recurrent Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) infections. Through her own journey, and the loss of her father to C. difficile infection involvement, Nancy recognized the need for greater awareness through education about research being conducted by the government, industry and academia and better advocacy on behalf of patients, healthcare professionals and researchers worldwide working to address the public health threat posed by this devastating infection. Follow the C Diff Foundation on Twitter (@cdiffFoundation) or Facebook. For more information, visit: http://www.cdifffoundation.org/.

 

 

C. diff. Prevention of Recurrent C. diff. Infection (RCDI), Seres Therapeutics Announces Achievement of Target Enrollment of SER-109 Phase 2 Study

In The News: May 2, 2016

Seres Therapeutics Announces Achievement of Target Enrollment of SER-109 Phase 2 Study for the Prevention of Recurrent Clostridium difficile Infection

Phase 2 data expected in mid-2016

New SER-109 Expanded Access Program initiated at Phase 2 clinical sites

Seres Therapeutics, Inc.  a leading microbiome therapeutics platform company, announced that the target enrollment of 87 patients has been achieved for its ongoing SER-109 Phase 2 clinical study.

SER-109 is an oral, potential first-in-field microbiome therapeutic 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 Clostridium difficile infection (CDI).

“We are pleased to reach this important milestone in our ongoing development of SER-109, which has the potential to be the first therapy for C. difficile infection to treat the underlying cause of this disease, and the first microbiome drug for a human disease. This is the first placebo controlled trial for patients with multiply-recurrent CDI,” said Roger Pomerantz, M.D., Chairman, President, and CEO of Seres. “C. difficile infection is an extremely serious condition responsible for approximately 29,000 deaths each year in the United States alone. We are moving with urgency to develop SER-109 as quickly and safely as possible. We expect initial results of the Phase 2 study in the middle of this year, and we plan to initiate a Phase 3 study later in 2016.”

The SER-109 Phase 2 study (ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT02437487) is a multicenter, randomized, placebo-controlled study being conducted at approximately 40 centers across the U.S. The current study builds on a completed, successful Phase 1b/2 trial, which demonstrated that 87 percent of patients (26 of 30) met the predefined endpoint of preventing recurrent CDI within eight weeks following administration of SER-109. In that study 97 percent of patients (29 of 30) achieved a clinical cure during the eight-week period after SER-109 dosing, as defined by the absence of CDI requiring antibiotic treatment. Results from the Phase 1b/2 have been published in The Journal of Infectious Disease.1

The Company has initiated a SER-109 Expanded Access Program at selected sites participating in the ongoing Phase 2 study. The Expanded Access Program will enable eligible patients with multiply-recurrent CDI to have continued access to SER-109. Furthermore, maintaining Phase 2 study sites open ahead of the anticipated start of the Phase 3 study expected to support and augment Phase 3 study execution and enrollment.

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. Seres’ most advanced program, SER-109, has successfully completed a Phase 1b/2 study demonstrating a clinical benefit in patients with recurring Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) and is currently being evaluated in a Phase 2 study in recurring CDI. The FDA has granted SER-109 Orphan Drug, as well as Breakthrough Therapy, designations. Seres’ second clinical candidate, SER-287, is being evaluated in a Phase 1b study in patients with mild-to-moderate ulcerative colitis (UC). For more information, please visit www.serestherapeutics.com. Follow us on Twitter @SeresTx.

TO READ THE ARTICLE IN ITS ENTIRETY CLICK ON THE LINK BELOW:

http://ir.serestherapeutics.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=254006&p=irol-newsArticle&ID=2163658

Reference

1. Khanna S. et al., A novel microbiome therapeutic increases gut microbial diversity and prevents recurrent Clostridium difficile infection, Journal of Infectious Disease, 2016.

Note:  The C Diff Foundation does not endorse this product, or any product, and shares this article strictly for informational purposes.

 

 

Fecal Transplants (FMT) Treating Clostridium difficile Infections; U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Seeks Comment on What Investigational New Drug (IND) Requirements To Waive

Fecal Transplants to Treat C. difficile: FDA Seeks Comment on What IND Requirements to Waive

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The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Monday February 29, 2016,announced new draft guidance that aims to further assure that patients infected with the bacterium Clostridium difficile and not responding to standard therapies can access poop transplants, also known as fecal microbiota for transplantation (FMT).

FDA considers FMT an investigational new drug (IND), which requires physicians and scientists to file an IND application if they intend to use the treatment for clinical practice or research.

However, FDA has issued guidance stating that FMT may be used to treat 

C. difficile infection not responsive to standard therapies outside of a clinical trial. 

New Guidance

The latest draft guidance offers new notice that FDA intends to exercise enforcement discretion regarding the IND requirements for the use of FMT to treat C. difficile infection.

As far as what FDA wants to discuss on this new draft guidance, the agency says it’s requesting comments on which IND requirements are appropriate to waive.

In particular, FDA is requesting comments on the requirement for institutional review board review of the use of FMT to treat patients with C. difficile infection not responding to standard therapies when the FMT is provided by a stool bank,” FDA says.

Background

The draft guidance comes as over the past few years, FMT, which basically involves the transfer of a healthy donor stool to the bowel of a patient infected with C. difficile, has emerged as an effective means to treat recurrent forms of the bacterial infections, according to a study in the Journal of Law and Biosciences.

Rachel Sachs, an academic fellow at Harvard University’s Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology and Bioethics, and an author of that study, explained to Focus that previously FDA said it would regulate FMT like a biologic, but that the decentralized, hospital-based model of FMT envisioned in this new draft guidance more closely resembles the agency’s models for regulating tissue or cord blood products.

Two companies – Rebiotix and Seres Therapeutics – have been granted orphan drug designations for their INDs as FMT treatments for recurrent C. difficile infections, which affect between 85,000 and 110,000 people in the US annually.

And Sachs said she’s under the assumption that once a company gets FDA approval for their FMT product, FDA will revoke its enforcement discretion included in this new guidance.

Guidance Details

FDA said Monday it intends to use this discretion for waiving certain IND requirements, provided that:

  • The licensed health care provider treating the patient obtains consent from the patient or his or her legally authorized representative for the use of FMT products. The consent should include, at a minimum, a statement that the use of FMT products to treat C. difficile is investigational and a discussion of its reasonably foreseeable risks;
  • The FMT product is not obtained from a stool bank; and
  • The stool donor and stool are qualified by screening and testing performed under the direction of the licensed health care provider for the purpose of providing the FMT product for treatment of the patient.

And FDA makes clear that an establishment that collects or prepares FMT products “solely under the direction of licensed health care providers for the purpose of treating their patients (e.g., a hospital laboratory) is not considered to be a stool bank under this guidance.”

Sachs co-authored her article with Carolyn Edelstein, director of policy and global partnerships at OpenBiome, a nonprofit stool bank that sells FMT capsules (recommended dose of 30 capsules plus a safety test capsule costs $535, or stool preparations for delivery by colonoscopy, enema, and EGD/naso-enteric tube are $385 each) after conducting first-in-human evaluations (N=4) and a randomized dose-finding study (N=17).

Edelstein told Focus that the draft “suggests that the FDA is seeking to set up a more tailored regulatory scheme, one that considers stool banking separately from small-scale directed donation. We are in favor of seeing stool banking receive more regulatory oversight. We plan to answer the agency’s request for comments on the elements of a regulatory framework that would lend this oversight to the practice of stool banking without unduly burdening the physicians and healthcare facilities using banked material, and by extension, unduly limiting access to the treatment for their patients.”

FDA also explains that there were “difficulties in interpretation” with previous draft guidance, particularly around the provision that the donor be known either to the patient or to the treating licensed health care provider, noting “the revised approach more accurately reflects our intent to mitigate risk, based on the number of patients exposed to a particular donor or manufacturing practice rather than the risk inherent from any one donor.”

But as new FMTs are likely to hit the market as orphan drugs, the bigger issue at play could be associated with cost. Sachs noted that any FDA-approved treatment, particularly since it’s an orphan product, could be expensive (upwards of thousands of dollars for treatment).

 

Source:

http://www.raps.org/Regulatory-Focus/News/2016/02/29/24428/Fecal-Transplants-to-Treat-C-difficile-FDA-Seeks-Comment-on-What-IND-Requirements-to-Waive/

C. diff. Spores and More Global Broadcasting Network Welcome Guests; Dr. David Cook, Ph.D., and Dr. Michele Trucksis, Ph.D., M.D. Of Seres Therapeutics, Inc.

“Ecobiotics: A Novel Approach to Recurrent C. difficile infections”

Tuesday, February 23rd — Live Broadcast

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This episode introduces Seres Therapeutics, a leading microbiome therapeutics company, which recently published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases positive results from an open-label Phase 1b/2 study of SER-109 for the treatment of patients with recurrent
C. difficile infections (CDI).  Seres Therapeutics is creating a new class of medicines to treat diseases resulting from functional deficiencies in the microbiome, a condition known as dysbiosis.

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New insights into the human microbiome are fundamentally reshaping how we understand and treat a wide range of diseases, creating new possibilities for patients not served by current therapeutic approaches. Ecobiotics are ecological compositions of beneficial organisms that are designed to reestablish a healthy microbiome. The discovery efforts at Seres Therapeutics currently span metabolic, inflammatory, and infectious diseases.

Join Guests;  
Dr. David Cook, Ph.D., Executive Vice President of R&D and Chief Scientific Officer
And
Dr. Michele (Shelley) Trucksis, Ph.D., M.D., Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer

As we discuss the microbiome, CDI, clinical studies SER-109, Probiotics, ECOSPOR, and much more

 

C. diff. Spores and More™  Global Broadcasting Network –  producing educational programs dedicated to  C. difficile Infections and more —  brought to you by VoiceAmerica and sponsored by Clorox Healthcare

 

Seres Therapeutics Disclaimer:
“This interview will include forward-looking statements on Seres Therapeutics’ current expectations and projections about future events. These statements are based upon current beliefs, expectations and assumptions, and are subject to a number of important risks and uncertainties, including those set forth in Seres Therapeutics’ filings with the SEC, many of which are difficult to predict. Actual results may differ materially from such statements. The information included in this interview is provided only as of the date of this interview, and Seres Therapeutics undertakes no obligation to update any forward-looking statements stated in this interview on account of new information, future events, or otherwise, except as required by law. Seres Therapeutics has provided financial support to the C Diff Foundation.”

Seres Therapeutics, Inc., A Leading Microbiome Therapeutics Company, Announced Positive Results From the Phase 1b/2 Study of SER-109 In Recurrent Clostridium difficile infections (CDI)

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“The impressive level of efficacy observed with SER-109 treatment is striking when compared with the high rate of recurrence expected in this population,” said Dr. Stuart H. Cohen, MD, Chief, Division of Infectious Diseases, University of California, Davis. “These results demonstrate the potential of SER-109 to effectively treat recurrent CDI. With current treatment approaches having significant limitations, SER-109 has the potential to fundamentally change the management of this urgent health issue.”

Abstract

Background. Patients with recurrent Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) have a ≥60% risk of relapse, as conventional therapies do not address the underlying gastrointestinal dysbiosis. This exploratory study evaluated the safety and efficacy of bacterial spores for preventing recurrent CDI.

Methods.  Stool specimens from healthy donors were treated with ethanol to eliminate pathogens. The resulting spores were fractionated and encapsulated for oral delivery as SER-109. Following their response to standard-of-care antibiotics, patients in cohort 1 were treated with SER-109 on 2 consecutive days (geometric mean dose, 1.7 × 109 spores), and those in cohort 2 were treated on 1 day (geometric mean dose, 1.1 × 108 spores). The primary efficacy end point was absence of C. difficile–positive diarrhea during an 8-week follow-up period. Microbiome alterations were assessed.

Results.  Thirty patients (median age, 66.5 years; 67% female) were enrolled, and 26 (86.7%) met the primary efficacy end point. Three patients with early, self-limiting C. difficile–positive diarrhea did not require antibiotics and tested negative for C. difficile at 8 weeks; thus, 96.7% (29 of 30) achieved clinical resolution. In parallel, gut microbiota rapidly diversified, with durable engraftment of spores and no outgrowth of non–spore-forming bacteria found after SER-109 treatment. Adverse events included mild diarrhea, abdominal pain, and nausea.

Conclusions.  SER-109 successfully prevented CDI and had a favorable safety profile, supporting a novel microbiome-based intervention as a potential therapy for recurrent CDI.

 

Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) and its attendant complications, including diarrhea, pseudomembranous colitis, and toxic megacolon, are associated with an estimated 29 000 annual deaths in the United States and is recognized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as an urgent public health priority [1]. Antibiotic exposure is the leading risk factor for CDI, and the risk of recurrent disease is increased among elderly patients and following antibiotic reexposure. Antibiotic therapy for recurrent CDI contributes to persistent disruption of the gut microbiome, which is the first-line defense against colonization and infection by pathogens, including C. difficile [25]. The risk of recurrence increases to >60% following a second episode [3, 6, 7].

Research has focused on the potential role that the human microbiome plays in health and disease. In 2008, the National Institutes of Health supported the creation of the Human Microbiome Project to characterize the species composition and function of the healthy microbiome. In the gut, the 2 dominant phyla are Firmicutes (ie, gram-positive organisms, including Bacilli and Clostridia) and Bacteroidetes (ie, gram-negative anaerobes, including Bacteroides, Parabacteroides, and Prevotella) [8, 9]. In contrast, gram-negative Enterobacteriaceae, such as Escherichia coli, make up only a fraction of the healthy microbiome [8]. There is also significant intersubject variability at both the genus and species level, suggesting that the bacterial communities in any one individual are unique, mirroring the complex interplay of diet, host genetics, immune response, and microbial coadaptation. Despite this variation, there are common core species found in a majority of healthy individuals, and metabolic pathways are preserved due to functional redundancy [10]. Thus, a wide range of microbiomes defines a healthy state.

In states of disease, there are also broad patterns that define gut dysbiosis, such as a loss of microbial diversity and increasing representation of gram-negative facultative anaerobes, such as Enterobacteriaceae [11, 12]. Antibiotic-induced dysbiosis underlies colonization and invasion by C. difficile, while repair of the microbiome, through fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT), is associated with efficacy rates of 81%–90% for those with recurrent CDI [1316]. FMT involves transferring minimally processed, uncharacterized fecal material from a healthy donor to a recipient [17].

FMT administration is often invasive and requires donor screening and stool preparation. Despite donor screening, stool preparations for FMT have the potential to transmit infections due to pathogens that are present at times outside the period of detectability or for which diagnostic tests are unavailable; there is also the possibility of unwitting transmission of emerging pathogens that have not been identified to date [18, 19]. While there have been recent reports of stool delivered via oral encapsulated FMT or stool enemas, the data demonstrate first-dose efficacy of approximately 52%–70%, which is significantly lower than that for other modes of administration, such as colonoscopy [14, 20, 21]. In recognition of FMT as an experimental biologic, the Food and Drug Administration issued guidance that this intervention should only be used for prevention of recurrent CDI and after receipt of informed consent. An alternative approach for achieving improved safety and convenience with comparable efficacy is urgently needed [22].

SER-109 is composed of approximately 50 species of Firmicutes spores derived from stool specimens from healthy donors. After demonstrating the preclinical efficacy of SER-109 in rodent CDI models, we formulated it for oral delivery in humans based on the hypothesis that spore-forming organisms would compete metabolically with C. difficile for essential nutrients and/or bile acids [2327]. In addition, spore purification with ethanol reduces the risk of transmission of other potential pathogens [28]. This initial study was designed to evaluate the efficacy and safety profile of SER-109 for CDI prevention in patients with recurrent infections and to measure alterations in the gut microbiota.

METHODS

Study Design

This open-label, single-arm, descending-dose study evaluated the safety, efficacy, and engraftment of SER-109 formulated for oral delivery. The study was sponsored by Seres Therapeutics and conducted at 4 US medical centers: Massachusetts General Hospital (Boston, Massachusetts), Mayo Clinic (Rochester, Minnesota), Miriam Hospital (Providence, Rhode Island), and Emory University Hospital (Atlanta, Georgia). The protocol was developed by investigators at Seres Therapeutics and authors of the current study (E. L. H., D. S. P., and S. K.) and was approved by the institutional review boards of the participating medical centers.

Study Population

Eligible patients were 18–90 years old and had ≥3 laboratory-confirmed CDI episodes in the previous 12 months, had a life expectancy of ≥3 months, and gave informed consent to receive this donor-derived product. Patients were excluded for a history of acute leukemia; hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, chemotherapy within 2 months and an absolute neutrophil count of <1000 neutrophils/mm3, a history of inflammatory or irritable bowel disease, colectomy, cirrhosis, pregnancy/lactation, severe acute illness unrelated to CDI, antibiotic exposure for a non-CDI indication within 14 days of screening, or prior FMT.

Eligible patients had a clinical response to antibiotic therapy for their current CDI episode immediately prior to dosing and were neither anticipated to require admission to an intensive care unit nor expected to need antibiotics within 6 weeks following study entry.

Screening of Donors

Seven adult donors of stool specimens gave informed consent, underwent a complete medical history and laboratory assessment, and were screened for blood-borne and fecal pathogens, consistent with published protocols [29, 30]. Donors were excluded for being older than 50 years, having a body mass index (BMI; calculated as the weight in kilograms divided by the height in meters squared) of >25, engaging in high-risk behaviors as per a modified American Association of Blood Banks blood donor questionnaire [31], having a history of acute/chronic gastrointestinal disorders, or using antibiotics (in the previous 6 months), immunosuppressive/antineoplastic agents, or cigarettes (Supplementary Materials).

Preparation of SER-109

SER-109 comprises Firmicutes spores fractionated from stool specimens obtained from healthy donors. Donor stool specimens were processed separately to make unique batches of SER-109. Upon collection, stool specimens were frozen at −80°C. Approximately 150 g was suspended and homogenized in normal saline and filtered through mesh screens. The slurry was centrifuged, and supernatant containing bacterial cells and spores was combined with 100% ethanol to 50% (wt/wt) and incubated at room temperature for 1 hour to reduce risk of pathogen transmission to the recipient [28]. The supernatant was pelleted by centrifugation, washed with saline to remove ethanol, resuspended with sterile glycerol, and filled into capsules (hypromellose DRcaps, Capsugel), which were stored at −80°C.

The product was characterized for spore concentration and absence of residual gram-negative bacteria. Spore content was determined by measuring the dipicolinic acid (DPA) content and normalizing against the DPA content of known numbers of spores representing 3 commensal species [32]. The absence of residual gram-negative bacteria was confirmed by selective plating on MacConkey lactose agar and Bacteroides bile esculin agar. No vegetative microbes were found in any SER-109 preparation within the limit of assay detection (<30 colony-forming units/mL).

Treatment Protocol

Two days prior to dosing, patients discontinued antibiotics for CDI. One day prior to dosing, patients underwent a bowel preparation (to minimize residual antibiotic in the gastrointestinal tract), followed by overnight fasting. Two sites used a regimen of 300 mL of magnesium-citrate (one with Dulcolax), and 2 sites used polyethylene glycol.

Part 1 enrolled 15 patients who each received 30 capsules of SER-109 (observed dose of 15 capsules on day 0 and day 1). The dose of spores varied between 3 × 107 and 2 × 1010, based on natural variations in spore concentration among healthy donors. Based on initial efficacy, 15 additional patients were enrolled in part 2 and treated with SER-109 capsules containing a lower fixed dose of 1 × 108 spores (approximately 17-fold lower than the geometric mean dose administered in part 1 and 3-fold above the minimum dose shown to be effective). Depending on spore content, patients received an observed dose of 1–12 capsules on day 0.

Any patient whose diarrhea recurred between 1 and 8 weeks was eligible for another dose of SER-109, based on data from the conventional FMT literature showing efficacy of a second dose [13, 14]. If a patient elected to receive a second dose of SER-109, the time course of study events was restarted concurrent with the second dose of SER-109.

Adverse events and recurrence of CDI symptoms were monitored through phone calls (on day 4 and weeks 1, 2, and 4) and in-clinic visits (on weeks 8 and 24). Patients were asked to provide a stool sample on day 4 and on weeks 1, 2, 4, 8, and 24 after treatment for genomic and culture-based analysis.

Clinical Outcomes

The primary end point was prevention of recurrent CDI during the 8-week follow-up after SER-109. CDI recurrence was defined as a composite end point of >3 unformed bowel movements in a 24-hour period and laboratory confirmation of C. difficile in the stool. Safety was evaluated by monitoring adverse events and assessing changes in laboratory values, vital signs, and physical examination findings over a 24-week period after dosing.

Alterations in Gut Microbiota Composition

The impact of SER-109 on gut microbiota was determined by examining stool samples before and after treatment for (1) engraftment by spore-forming species and (2) augmentation (outgrowth) of commensal bacteria not found in SER-109. Alterations in composition were measured by 16S ribosomal RNA (rRNA) genomic and culture-based analysis of patient fecal samples (Supplementary Materials). Engraftment was defined by newly detected spore formers in the patient after treatment, which were present in SER-109 but not detectable in the patient before treatment. Augmented bacteria were defined as non–SER-109 organisms whose levels increased at least 10-fold after treatment.

RESULTS

Patient Population

Thirty patients were enrolled after therapeutic response to appropriate CDI antibiotics (ie, vancomycin [n = 23], fidaxomicin [n = 5], metronidazole [n = 1], and rifaximin [n = 1]) was documented (Table 1). Patients had a median age of 66.5 years (range, 22–88 years), and the majority of subjects (67%) were female. The median time from the initial C. difficile diagnosis to the most recent recurrence was 23.1 weeks in cohort 1 and 34.3 weeks in cohort 2. In the overall study population, the median number of CDI recurrences was 3 (range, 2–6 recurrences). Infecting C. difficile strains were identified in 10 patients and included types BI, Y, and DH (Supplementary Table 1).

View this table:

Table 1.

Patient Demographic Characteristics, by Cohort

Complete blood counts and a chemistry panel (including liver function tests and analysis of albumin and creatinine levels) were performed at week 8 (for 27 of 30 patients) and at week 24 or early termination for 20 of 30 patients. No significant changes in laboratory findings were observed, with the exception of those for 1 patient, who had an elevated white blood cell count at week 8 at the time of diagnosis of a urinary tract infection.

Clinical Outcomes

Of the 30 patients who received SER-109, 26 (86.7%) achieved the primary end point of no C. difficile–positive diarrhea up to 8 weeks following dosing, with similar outcomes in both dosing cohorts (Figure 1). Of the patients who met the primary end point, 1 required a second dose of SER-109 for recurrence of C. difficile–positive diarrhea on day 26, as per protocol. Four patients who did not meet the primary end point had early onset of symptoms at days 3, 5, 7, and 9 after administration of SER-109 and laboratory confirmation of C. difficile. One of these patients declined a second SER-109 dose and chose not to continue participating in the study. Notably, the other 3 patients were determined by their primary investigator to be recovering from a self-limiting diarrheal episode at the time of stool submission for C. difficile testing. In each case, the investigators advised the patients to refrain from antibiotic use, and all symptoms resolved without any therapeutic intervention; stool samples from these 3 patients were negative for C. difficile carriage at 8 weeks, using a sensitive nucleic acid amplification test for detection of toxins A and B. Thus, 29 of 30 patients (96.7%) achieved clinical resolution of recurrent CDI following SER-109 administration.

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FOR RESOURCES AND TO READ THIS ARTICLE IN ITS ENTIRETY PLEASE CLICK ON THE FOLLOWING LINK:

http://jid.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2016/02/04/infdis.jiv766.full?sid=87ea07a7-7305-4b85-93aa-e808fff35e50

OR

http://www.nfvzone.com/news/2016/02/09/8314032.htm

Nestlé Health Science Invests In Seres Therapeutics “Ecobiotics” Aiming To Treat Inflammatory Bowel Disease and C. diff.

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Nestlé Health Science has signed an exclusive agreement outside of the United States and Canada to support the potential future commercialisation of Seres Therapeutics ‘ novel ‘microbiome therapeutics’.

The aim is to treat Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) and Clostridium difficile (C.diff), an intestinal infection caused by the C.diff bacteria that can be life-threatening in some cases.

Nestlé Health Science will invest USD 120 million upfront to support Seres’ ‘Ecobiotics’, a new class of biological drugs based upon microbial organisms. These target the microbiome – the 100 trillion microorganisms that live in the body.

Scientific has noted that research increasingly links an unhealthy or unbalanced microbiome to a range of health conditions, including IBD and C.diff.

Seres Therapeutics  designs Ecobiotic® drugs using their proprietary microbiome therapeutics platform. This technology gives them insights into the microbiome associated with health and disease states, allowing them to create effective therapies that are designed to disrupt unhealthy microbial ecological networks and that catalyze the establishment of healthy ones. Ecobiotic® drugs are designed to rapidly and safely treat serious diseases by positively reshaping the microbiome.

 

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click on the graphic above to be directed to the Seres Therapeutics website.

 

To access full article click on the link below:

 

http://www.foodmag.com.au/news/nestle-to-invest-in-ecobiotics-to-tackle-public-he

 

*Please note – The C Diff Foundation does not endorse this product or any product and this posting is strictly for informational purposes only.