Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY), Enterome Enter Immuno-Oncology Collaboration for Microbiome-Derived Biomarkers Development

November 16, 2016 6:25 AM EST

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Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (NYSE: BMY) and Enterome, a pioneer in the development of pharmaceuticals and diagnostics based on the gut microbiome, announced that they have entered into an Immuno-Oncology focused collaboration agreement for the discovery and development of microbiome-derived biomarkers, drug targets and bioactive molecules to be developed as potential companion diagnostics and therapeutics for cancer. Additionally, the collaboration will seek to identify novel microbiome-derived biomarkers in an effort to improve clinical outcomes for patients treated with Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Immuno-Oncology portfolio.

The collaboration will combine Bristol-Myers Squibb’s expertise in the discovery and development of novel immunotherapies with Enterome’s proprietary metagenomic technology platform and leadership in the rapidly advancing science of the gut microbiome to support the discovery of novel immunotherapy agents and biomarkers. There is a growing body of scientific evidence to suggest that the gut microbiome plays an important role in modulating mechanisms of response and resistance to cancer immunotherapies. Changes in a host’s immune system driven by the gut microbiome can be exploited to identify specific targets and bioactive compounds with the potential to augment anti-cancer immune responses.

“We continue to pursue the full potential of Immuno-Oncology by applying rapidly evolving science, technology and research to our strong foundation in harnessing the immune system to fight cancer,” said Carl Decicco, Ph.D., head of discovery at Bristol-Myers Squibb. “Business development has been integral in partnering external innovation with our internal R&D expertise and capabilities. Enterome’s focus on target identification and validation along with their significant experience in microbiome research can help to advance our goal to improve outcomes for patients treated with immunotherapies.”

“We are delighted to collaborate with Bristol-Myers Squibb to help advance the field of Immuno-Oncology,” said Pierre Belichard, chief executive officer at Enterome. “The exciting combination of Bristol-Myers Squibb’s extensive capabilities in Immuno-Oncology with our expertise in identifying novel targets and molecules derived from the gut microbiome is highly complementary, and offers a unique opportunity to develop a new generation of cancer drugs and diagnostics.”

Under the terms of the agreement, Bristol-Myers Squibb will be granted exclusive rights to intellectual property and therapies generated during the collaboration. Enterome will receive an upfront payment of $15 million for access to its technology plus R&D funding. Enterome is also eligible to receive preclinical and clinical milestone payments for each licensed therapeutic candidate plus royalties on net sales. Enterome is eligible for additional milestone payments in relation to new diagnostic products discovered and developed during the collaboration. Further details of the agreement were not disclosed.

About the Microbiome and Immuno-Oncology

In the past decade, an explosion of research in the microbiome field has revealed a remarkable symbiotic relationship between the gut bacteria and its human host, enhancing biotech companies’ interest in manipulating this relationship to improve human health. Scientists have shown that the gut microbiome plays an important role in regulating metabolism, influencing the chemistry in the brain, acting as a barrier to pathogens and regulating the immune system. In the cancer context, recent publications have demonstrated the role of the intestinal microbiome in mediating immune activation in response to chemotherapeutic agents. New cancer immunotherapies have improved outcomes in cancer patients and their combination with microbiome-based therapeutics may help to boost the immune system and potentially lead to improved outcomes in more patients.



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