Seres Therapeutics in microbiome immuno-oncology collaboration with AstraZeneca

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Seres Therapeutics (NASDAQ:MCRB) entered a three-year research collaboration with AstraZeneca to focus on advancing the understanding of the microbiome in augmenting the efficacy of cancer immunotherapy, including potential synergy with AstraZeneca compounds.

Preclinical and early clinical evidence suggests that the composition of the gastrointestinal microbiome impacts clinical response to checkpoint inhibitor immunotherapy and supports the hypothesis that modification of the microbiome may improve outcomes.

Under the accord, AstraZeneca will provide Seres with $20-million in three equal instalments over two years, with the first payment at the start of the agreement. AstraZeneca also will reimburse Seres for research activity related to the collaboration. Seres will maintain rights to oncology targeted microbiome therapeutic candidates, and AstraZeneca will obtain the option to negotiate for rights to those programs and other inventions arising out of the collaboration.

The collaboration will evaluate microbiome-based approaches as a predictor for which patients may respond best to certain cancer immunotherapies. In addition, Seres’ SER-401, an investigational microbiome therapeutic, may be studied in combination with AstraZeneca compounds targeting various cancers.

“Through the activities under this collaboration and in our SER-401 Phase 1b clinical study in metastatic melanoma, we hope to meaningfully advance our understanding of the potential for microbiome therapeutics to magnify the impact of cancer immunotherapy,” Eric Shaff, president and CEO of Seres, said in a statement.

Dr. Jean-Charles Soria, SVP of R&D, oncology, at AstraZeneca said that despite progress in the field of immunotherapy, “we are only at the tip of the iceberg. Too many patients are still unable to benefit from existing therapies, so we must continue following the science in pursuit of new and innovative solutions.”

Abby Hardy