Tag Archives: Synthetic Biologics

Synthetic Biologics SYN-004 (ribaxamase) Achieves Primary Endpoint in Phase 2b Trial for C. difficile Infection

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Synthetic Biologics’ SYN-004 (ribaxamase) Achieves Primary Endpoint
in Phase 2b Trial for C. difficile Infection (CDI)

 

Synthetic Biologics, Inc. a late-stage clinical company developing therapeutics
that preserve the microbiome to protect and restore the health of patients, today
announced positive topline data from its Phase 2b clinical trial for SYN-004 (ribaxamase),
the Company’s first-in-class oral enzyme designed to protect the gut microbiome
from disruption caused by certain intravenous (IV) beta-lactam antibiotics.

The study, a randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled trial of 412 patients, met its primary endpoint of significantly reducing C. difficile Infection (CDI). Preliminary analysis of the data indicated seven confirmed cases of CDI in the placebo group compared to two cases in the ribaxamase treatment group. Patients receiving ribaxamase achieved a 71.4% relative risk reduction (p-value=0.045) in CDI rates compared to patients receiving placebo. Adverse events reported during this trial were comparable between treatment and placebo arms.

Synthetic Biologics is also in the process of analyzing data from several exploratory endpoints that were designed to evaluate ribaxamase’s ability to protect the gut microbiome from colonization by opportunistic bacteria such as C. difficile and other antibiotic-resistant pathogens. Preliminary analysis of the data demonstrated a significant reduction in new colonization by vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) for patients receiving ribaxamase compared to placebo (p-value=0.0002). With agreement from the FDA, the study included a secondary endpoint to assess ribaxamase’s capacity to decrease the incidence of antibiotic-associated diarrhea from all causes. Preliminary analysis of the data suggested a trend towards such a reduction (p-value=0.13), which was due, for the most part, to the reduction of CDI.

These data are consistent with ribaxamase’s mechanism of action designed to protect and preserve the natural balance of the gut microbiome from the unintended effects of IV antibiotic use. The Company expects to share additional results from these exploratory endpoints as they become available later this year, including results focused on ribaxamase’s ability to prevent the emergence of antimicrobial resistance in the gut microbiome.

“These trial results provide a compelling demonstration of the potential of ribaxamase to help address the serious health impacts associated with CDI and infections from other opportunistic bacteria resulting from dysbiosis of the gut microbiome,” said Joseph Sliman, MD, SVP, Clinical and Regulatory Affairs. “More than 453,0001 patients are diagnosed with CDI annually in the U.S., resulting in approximately 29,0001 deaths as well as significant and sometimes prolonged illness. Ribaxamase has the potential to shorten hospital stays, diminish morbidity and mortality and reduce the emergence of antibiotic-resistant organisms in the gut microbiome by protecting patients from primary C. difficile infection resulting from IV antibiotic use.”

In addition to causing significant suffering and mortality, CDI adds an estimated economic burden of nearly $1.5 billion1 to the healthcare system each year, which could potentially be reduced with an effective therapeutic.

“The reduction in the relative risk of CDI represents a significant milestone in the clinical development of ribaxamase and we believe provides further validation for our approach to advancing cutting edge microbiome science,” said Jeffrey Riley, President and Chief Executive Officer. “These findings also help further our goals to bring the first ever microbiome-focused therapeutic to patients and to help illuminate the potential of this drug class to address serious diseases and public health concerns. We expect to share additional data from exploratory endpoints in the coming months and look forward to continuing ongoing and productive discussions with both the FDA and CDC on the protocol for Phase 3 pivotal trials for ribaxamase.”

Synthetic Biologics is also continuing to prepare for the initiation of pivotal Phase 2b/3 clinical trials for SYN-010, the Company’s proprietary, modified-release formulation of lovastatin lactone designed to treat the underlying cause of irritable bowel syndrome with constipation (IBS-C).

Presentation Planned for Biotech Showcase 2017 Conference

Date: Monday, January 9, 2017
Time: 9:30 a.m. (PT) / 12:30 p.m. (ET)
Location: Hilton San Francisco Union Square, San Francisco, CA

A live webcast of Synthetic Biologics’ presentation may be accessed by logging onto the internet at https://event.webcasts.com/viewer/event.jsp?ei=1130367. After the presentation, a replay will be archived and accessible for 90 days at the same website.

About SYN-004 (ribaxamase) and the Phase 2b Study

SYN-004 (ribaxamase) is a first-in-class oral enzyme designed to degrade certain IV beta-lactam antibiotics within the GI tract and maintain the natural balance of the gut microbiome for the prevention of CDI, AAD and the emergence of antibiotic-resistant organisms. The Phase 2b proof-of-concept clinical trial is intended to evaluate the effectiveness of ribaxamase to prevent the onset of primary C. difficile infection (CDI), antibiotic-associated diarrhea (AAD) and the emergence of antibiotic-resistant organisms in patients hospitalized with a lower respiratory infection and receiving IV ceftriaxone. A total of 412 subjects were randomized in a 1:1 ratio receiving either 150 mg dose strength of SYN-004 (ribaxamase) or placebo orally QID from Day 1 and until 72 hours following their last treatment of IV ceftriaxone. The sample size was determined to provide 80% power to detect the treatment effect with a one-sided alpha of 0.05. P-values were determined based on a 1-sided z-test for the comparison of the treatment difference as pre-specified in the statistical analysis plan. To access the ribaxamase mechanism of action video on Synthetic Biologics’ website, please click here.

About Synthetic Biologics, Inc.

Synthetic Biologics, Inc. (NYSE MKT: SYN) is a late-stage clinical company developing therapeutics that preserve the microbiome to protect and restore the health of patients. The Company’s lead candidates poised for Phase 3 development are: (1) SYN-010 which is intended to reduce the impact of methane producing organisms in the gut microbiome to treat an underlying cause of irritable bowel syndrome with constipation (IBS-C), and (2) SYN-004 (ribaxamase) which is designed to protect the gut microbiome from the effects of certain commonly used intravenous (IV) beta-lactam antibiotics for the prevention of C. difficile infection, antibiotic-associated diarrhea (AAD) and the emergence of antibiotic-resistant organisms. The Company is also developing preclinical stage monoclonal antibody therapies for the prevention and treatment of pertussis and novel discovery stage biotherapeutics for the treatment of phenylketonuria (PKU). For more information, please visit Synthetic Biologics’ website at www.syntheticbiologics.com.

This release includes forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. In some cases, forward-looking statements can be identified by terminology such as “may,” “should,” “potential,” “continue,” “expects,” “anticipates,” “intends,” “plans,” “believes,” “estimates” and similar expressions and include statements regarding the potential of ribaxamase to help address the serious health impacts associated with CDI and infections from other opportunistic bacteria resulting from dysbiosis of the gut microbiome, the industry data regarding the expected incidence and economic burden of CDI, the potential of ribaxamase to shorten hospital stays, diminish morbidity and mortality and reduce the emergence of antibiotic resistant organisms in the gut microbiome by protecting patients from primary C. difficile infection resulting from IV antibiotic use, the potential to reduce the economic burden to the healthcare system from an effective therapeutic, the suggested trend toward a reduction of incidence of antibiotic-associated diarrhea from all causes, the expected timing of data release of exploratory endpoints of the trial focused on the ability of ribaxamase to prevent the emergence of antibiotic-resistant organisms in the gut microbiome, the continued ongoing discussions with the FDA and CDC, validation for our approach to advancing cutting edge microbiome science, the continued preparation  for the initiation of pivotal Phase 2b/3 clinical trials for SYN-010, the potential of the drug class to address serious diseases and public health concerns, the ability of SYN-004 to protect the gut microbiome from the effects of certain commonly used IV beta-lactam antibiotics for the prevention of  C. difficile infection, antibiotic-associated diarrhea (AAD) and the emergence of antibiotic-resistant organisms. These forward-looking statements are based on management’s expectations and assumptions as of the date of this press release and are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those set forth or implied by any forward-looking statements. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from current expectations include, among others, Synthetic Biologics’ product candidates demonstrating safety and effectiveness, as well as results that are consistent with prior results, Synthetic Biologics’ ability to initiate clinical trials and if initiated, to complete them on time and achieve desired results and benefits, Synthetic Biologics’ clinical trials continuing enrollment as expected, Synthetic Biologics’ ability to obtain regulatory approvals for commercialization of product candidates or to comply with ongoing regulatory requirements, regulatory limitations relating to Synthetic Biologics’ ability to promote or commercialize its product candidates for specific indications, acceptance of its product candidates in the marketplace and the successful development, marketing or sale of Synthetic Biologics’ products by competitors that render Synthetic Biologics’ products obsolete or non-competitive, Synthetic Biologics’ ability to maintain its license agreements, the continued maintenance and growth of Synthetic Biologics’ patent estate, Synthetic Biologics becoming and remaining profitable, Synthetic Biologics’ ability to establish and maintain collaborations, Synthetic Biologics’ ability to obtain or maintain the capital or grants necessary to fund its research and development activities, a loss of any of Synthetic Biologics’ key scientists or management personnel, and other factors described in Synthetic Biologics’ Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2015 and its other filings with the SEC, including subsequent periodic reports on Forms 10-Q and 8-K.The information in this release is provided only as of the date of this release, and Synthetic Biologics undertakes no obligation to update any forward-looking statements contained in this release on account of new information, future events, or otherwise, except as required by law.

1: Leffler DA et al. N Engl J Med 2015; 372: 1539-1548

To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/synthetic-biologics-syn-004-ribaxamase-achieves-primary-endpoint-in-phase-2b-trial-for-c-difficile-infection-cdi-300386140.html

SOURCE Synthetic Biologics, Inc.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Awards Research Contract To Synthetic Biologics For Microbiome Assessment and Approaches To Better Combat Antibiotic Resistance

Synthetic Biologics, Inc. www.syntheticbiologics.com (PRNewsFoto/Synthetic Biologics, Inc.)

“To protect people, their microbiomes, and the effectiveness of antibiotics, this project is an example of applied research that has the potential to produce innovative public health approaches to better combat antibiotic resistance.”

Synthetic Biologics, Inc.  a clinical stage company focused on developing therapeutics to protect the gut microbiome while targeting pathogen-specific diseases, announced today it has been awarded a contract by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The award will support research conducted during the Company’s ongoing randomized, placebo-controlled Phase 2b proof-of-concept clinical study of SYN-004 (ribaxamase), designed to protect the gut microbiome from the unintended effects of certain commonly used intravenous (IV) beta-lactam antibiotics for the prevention of C. difficile infection (CDI), antibiotic-associated diarrhea (AAD) and the emergence of antibiotic-resistant organisms.

“Antibiotics are life-saving medicines, but they also can disrupt a person’s microbiome and increase the risk for drug-resistant infections,” said Dr. Clifford McDonald, Associate Director of Science for CDC’s Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion. “To protect people, their microbiomes, and the effectiveness of antibiotics, this project is an example of applied research that has the potential to produce innovative public health approaches to better combat antibiotic resistance.”

The contract, awarded through the CDC’s Advanced and Innovative Solutions to Improve Public Health Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) 2016-N-17812, will support CDC’s efforts to assess how selective pressure from IV antibiotics may lead to the emergence of antibiotic resistance in the gut microbiome. The funding will also support research to evaluate ribaxamase’s ability to reduce selective pressure associated with the emergence of antibiotic-resistant organisms in the gut microbiomes of patients enrolled in the Company’s ongoing Phase 2b clinical trial. The Company will examine DNA isolated from longitudinal samples obtained during the clinical trial and look for changes to the patient’s gut resistome, specifically examining for alterations in the presence and/or abundance of antibiotic resistance genes.

“Synthetic Biologics is proud to have the support of the U.S. Government in its efforts to study the role of antibiotics in mediating resistance in the gut microbiome,” said Jeffrey Riley, President and Chief Executive Officer. “Ribaxamase’s strategy of degrading certain IV beta-lactam antibiotics before they are excreted into the GI tract has the potential to protect the gut microbiome from disruption by these antibiotics without inhibiting their ability to fight primary infections as well as mitigate conditions conducive to antibiotic-resistance development. We look forward to our collaboration with CDC and to furthering their initiative to assess and address rising global concerns for the proliferation of antibiotic resistance.”

 

To read the article in its entirety click on the following link:

http://ir.syntheticbiologics.com/press-releases/detail/221

 

Thanks and Appreciation To Our Guests For Joining Us On C. diff. Spores And More Season II

ThankYouInkPen

As Season II concludes, we wish to take this opportunity to sincerely thank each
and every guest for taking time out of their
busy schedule and joining us on Tuesday’s at
10:00a Pacific Time / 1:00p Eastern Time over the past seven months.

C. diff. Spores and More Global Broadcasting Network will be taking a break and will return to live broadcasting on  January 17th, 2017 with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) leading the way with our guest
Dr. Katherine Fleming-Dutra, Medical Officer, CDC’s Office of Antibiotic Stewardship.

A Prescription for Over-Prescribing: The Key to Fighting
Antibiotic Resistance

Dr. Fleming-Dutra is a medical epidemiologist with the Office of Antibiotic Stewardship in the Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion at the Centers Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Dr. Fleming-Dutra is a pediatrician and pediatric emergency medicine physician and has focused on infectious diseases epidemiology and antibiotic stewardship in the outpatient setting in her career at CDC.

Join Dr. Fleming-Dutra as she discusses a recent study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association, was released showing that at least 30 percent of all prescriptions written in doctors’ offices and emergency rooms are completely unnecessary. So how do we use these alarming results to transform the culture of over-prescribing Dr. Katherine Fleming-Dutra, M.D., will:

  • Give a detailed explanation of the study results, and provide an in-depth review of specific findings;
  • Highlight what CDC is doing to promote antibiotic stewardship across healthcare settings, and
  • Identify what clinicians, other health care professionals, and patients can do to improve antibiotic prescribing, therefore fighting antibiotic resistance.

 

C diff Radio™ Live Broadcast AND Podcasts

cdiffRadioLogoMarch2015C. diff. Spores and More Global Broadcasting Network™

  brought to you by VoiceAmerica and
sponsored by Clorox Healthcare

An educational program that is dedicated to  C. difficile Infections  and more–

 

Click On The LOGO  Above And Enjoy Listening To the Live Broadcasts In the C. diff. Spores and More Podcast Library.

 

Live Broadcast airs
on Tuesdays at:    10a PT,    11a MT,   12p CT,    1p ET

We are pleased to share  “C. diff. Spores and More ™”  with you because, as advocates of  C. diff.,  we know the importance of this cutting-edge new weekly radio show  and what it means for our Foundation’s community worldwide.–

Hard Facts: Deaths and illnesses are much higher than reports have shown. Nearly half a million Americans suffered from Clostridium difficile (C. diff.) infections in a single year according to a study released today, February 25, 2015, by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

• More than 100,000 of these infections developed among residents of U.S. nursing homes.

Approximately 29,000 patients died within 30 days of the initial diagnosis of a C. diff. infection. Of these 29,000 – 15,000 deaths were estimated to be directly related to a
C. diff. infection. Therefore; C. diff. is an important cause of infectious disease death in the U.S.

♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
Previous studies indicate that C. diff. has become the most common microbial cause of Healthcare-Associated Infections found in U.S. hospitals driving up costs to $4.8 billion each year in excess health care costs in acute care facilities alone. Approximately
two-thirds of C. diff. infections were found to be associated with an inpatient stay in a health care facility, only 24% of the total cases occurred in patients while they were hospitalized. The study also revealed that almost as many cases occurred in nursing homes as in hospitals and the remainder of individuals acquired the
Healthcare-Associated infection, C. diff., recently discharged from a health care facility.

This new study finds that 1 out of every 5 patients with the Healthcare-Associated Infection (HAI), C. diff., experience a recurrence of the infection and 1 out of every 9 patients over the age of 65 diagnosed with a HAI – C. diff. infection died within 30 days of being diagnosed. Older Americans are quite vulnerable to this life-threatening diarrhea infection. The CDC study also found that women and Caucasian individuals are at an increased risk of acquiring a C. diff. infection. The CDC Director, Dr. Tom Frieden, MD, MPH said, “C. difficile infections cause immense suffering and death for thousands of Americans each year.” “These infections can be prevented by improving antibiotic prescribing and by improving infection control in the health care system. CDC hopes to ramp up prevention of this deadly infection by supporting State Antibiotic Resistance Prevention Programs in all 50 states.”

“This does not include the number of C. diff. infections taking place and being treated in other countries.”  “The  C Diff Foundation supports hundreds of communities by sharing the Foundation’s mission and  raising C. diff. awareness to healthcare professionals, individuals, patients, families,  and communities working towards a shared goal ~  witnessing a reduction of newly diagnosed C. diff. cases by 2020 .”   ” The C Diff Foundation volunteer Advocates are greatly appreciated and continue to create positive changes by sharing their time  aiding in the success of our mission “Raising C. diff. awareness ™”  worldwide.

C. diff. Spores and More ™“ spotlights world renowned topic experts, research scientists, healthcare professionals, organization representatives, C. diff. survivors, board members, and their volunteers who are all creating positive changes in the
C. diff.
community and more.

Through their interviews, the C Diff Foundation mission will connect, educate, and empower listeners worldwide.

Questions received through the show page portal will be reviewed and addressed  by the show’s Medical Correspondent, Dr. Fred Zar, MD, FACP,  Dr. Fred Zar is a Professor of Clinical Medicine, Vice HeZarPhotoWebsiteTop (2)ad for Education in the Department of Medicine, and Program Director of the Internal Medicine Residency at the University of Illinois at Chicago.  Over the last two decades he has been a pioneer in the study of the treatment of Clostridium difficile disease and the need to stratify patients by disease severity.

 

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Programming for C. diff. Spores and More ™ is made possible through our official Corporate Sponsor;  Clorox Healthcare

We look forward to sharing time with our worldwide listeners when we return in January, Season III. 

Until then………………

We send out get-well wishes to everyone being treated for and recovering from a C. difficile infection and all wellness draining illnesses worldwide.

“None of us can do this alone – All of us can do this together!”

European Patent Office Has Granted European Patent Which Provides Composition Of Matter Coverage For Synthetic Biologics’ ribaxamase

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Synthetic Biologics; a clinical stage company focused on developing therapeutics to protect the gut microbiome announced on July 12, 2016  that the European Patent Office has granted European Patent No. 2576776 which provides composition of matter coverage for ribaxamase, the Company’s Phase 2 drug candidate designed to degrade certain IV beta-lactam antibiotics within the GI tract and maintain the natural balance of the gut microbiome for the prevention of Clostridium difficile infection (CDI), antibiotic-associated diarrhea (AAD) and the emergence of antibiotic-resistant organisms.

This is Synthetic Biologics’ first patent directly pertaining to ribaxamase in Europe and adds to the Company’s established and extensive patent estate.

In addition, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has granted
US Patent No. 9,376,673, and issued a Notice of Allowance for another application (US 15/160,669), with composition of matter claims for various beta-lactamase candidates related to ribaxamase. These new patent assets further strengthen the Company’s coverage of its novel proprietary candidate, ribaxamase, which is also covered by a previously granted composition of matter patent in the U.S.

“The successful granting of this composition of matter patent in Europe, alongside our continued patent successes in the U.S., further strengthens Synthetic Biologics’ role as a leader in the development of microbiome-focused programs intended to address largely unmet medical needs,” said Jeffrey Riley, President and Chief Executive Officer. “As we continue to enjoy momentum in the clinic, our progress is further complimented by our well established and reinforced patent estate for ribaxamase.”

Ribaxamase is designed to degrade certain intravenous (IV) beta-lactam antibiotics excreted into the gastrointestinal (GI) tract to maintain the natural balance of the
gut microbiome.

C. difficile is associated with approximately 453,000 CDIs and > 29,000 C. difficile-related deaths in the United States each year[i].

Upon issuance, these newly allowed applications reinforce Synthetic Biologics’ extensive C. difficile-related patent estate, which includes approximately 40 U.S. and foreign patents and approximately 30 U.S. and foreign patent pending applications, and patents and patent applications with terms that extend from at least 2031 to 2036.

 

To read this article in its entirety click on the link below:

http://ir.syntheticbiologics.com/press-releases/detail/216

The United States Adopted Names Council (USAN) Of the American Medical Association Has Approved the Use Of “ribaxamase” For Synthetic Biologics’ SYN-004 For the Prevention Of C. difficile Infection (CDI)

SyntheticBiologics2016LOGO

The United States Adopted Names Council (USAN) of the American Medical Association has approved the use of “ribaxamase” (Rye-bak’-sa-mase) for Synthetic Biologics’ SYN-004.

Ribaxamase is the Company’s Phase 2 development candidate designed to protect the gut microbiome from the unintended effects of certain commonly used intravenous (IV) beta-lactam antibiotics for the prevention of C. difficile infection (CDI), antibiotic-associated diarrhea (AAD) and the emergence of antibiotic-resistant organisms.

Synthetic Biologics recently reported positive results from two Phase 2a clinical trials demonstrating a correlation of the 150 mg dose of ribaxamase with the degradation of residual IV ceftriaxone alone, and in the presence of the proton pump inhibitor (PPI), esomeprazole, to levels that were near or below detectable in the intestinal chyme of healthy participants with functioning ileostomies. A Phase 2b proof-of-concept, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial is currently underway to evaluate the ability of ribaxamase to prevent CDI and AAD in patients hospitalized with a lower respiratory tract infection and receiving IV ceftriaxone. An interim analysis of blinded data performed by an independent data monitoring committee is expected in summer of 2016.

“The approval of the generic name ribaxamase for SYN-004 by USAN is a defining milestone for Synthetic Biologics. Ribaxamase represents a newly created and innovative first-in-class drug designed to protect the naturally occurring gut microbiome from the unintended consequences of antibiotic use,” said Jeffrey Riley, President and Chief Executive Officer. “By degrading certain IV beta-lactam antibiotics before they reach the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, ribaxamase may not only prevent the onset of CDI and AAD, but has the potential to be an instrumental tool for preventing the emergence of antibiotic resistance in organisms which comprise the gut microbiome. We are excited for the continued clinical development of ribaxamase and look forward to sharing our progress including announcing results from our ongoing global Phase 2b proof-of-concept clinical trial.”

 

To read the article in its entirety click on the link below:

http://www.syntheticbiologics.com/news-media/press-releases/detail/215/synthetic-biologics-receives-usan-approval-for-generic-name

Synthetic Biologics Announced Positive Topline Results From the Second Phase 2a Open-Label Clinical Trial of SYN-004, Prevention of C.diff. Infection (CDI) and Antibiotic-associated Diarrhea (AAD)

SYN-004 Degraded IV Ceftriaxone in the Presence of a Proton Pump Inhibitor in the Gastrointestinal Tract without Affecting Antibiotic Levels in the Bloodstream —

— Two Poster Presentations Planned for ASM Microbe 2016, Including Detailed Data from Two SYN-004 Phase 2a Open-Label Clinical Trials —

SyntheticBiologics2016LOGO

Synthetic Biologics, Inc. a clinical stage company focused on developing therapeutics to protect the gut microbiome, announced positive topline results from the second Phase 2a open-label clinical trial of SYN-004, the Company’s candidate designed to protect the gut microbiome from the unintended effects of certain commonly used intravenous (IV) beta-lactam antibiotics for the prevention of C. difficile infection (CDI), antibiotic-associated diarrhea (AAD) and the emergence of antibiotic-resistant organisms. Results from 14 participants who completed this clinical trial were analyzed to assess the ability of the 150 mg dose of SYN-004 to degrade ceftriaxone when administered alone and with the proton pump inhibitor (PPI), esomeprazole.

 

To read article in its entirety:

http://ir.syntheticbiologics.com/press-releases/detail/211

 

 

 

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/.