Bristol-Myers Squibb will evaluate Opdivo (nivolumab) in combination with Vedanta Biosciences’ VE800, a live biotherapeutic product (LBP), in patients with advanced or metastatic cancers.
In this connection, the Bristol-Myers Squibb and Vedanta Biosciences, an affiliate of PureTech Health, have entered into a clinical collaboration.
Opdivo is a programmed death-1 (PD-1) immune checkpoint inhibitor, which has been developed to harness the immune system of the body for restoring anti-tumor immune response.
VE800 is a rationally-defined human bacterial consortium, which is being developed by Vedanta Biosciences, as an immuno-oncology.
Recently revealed data from a preclinical study suggests that the LBP evoked an anti-tumor immune response as a monotherapy apart from improving effects of immune checkpoint inhibitors.
Vedanta Biosciences said that across various preclinical models of cancer, including those sensitive and resistant to checkpoint inhibition, VE800 could induce CD8+ T cells, increase the immune system’s attack of tumor cells, and amplify the effects of anti-PD-1 therapy to a significant extent.
The company said that the preclinical models back clinical research to explore if modulating the microbiome with VE800 has the potential to expand the efficacy of checkpoint inhibitors.
Vedanta Biosciences co-founder and CEO Bernat Olle said: “Our lead, microbiome-based immuno-oncology candidate, VE800, is based on work conducted in collaboration with our co-founder, Dr. Kenya Honda, showing in preclinical models that certain gut-dwelling bacterial strains potentiate cytotoxic CD8+ T cells and enhance infiltration into tumors.
“Through this collaboration our goal is to determine whether VE800 in combination with Opdivo can improve outcomes for patients with advanced or metastatic cancers.”
Bristol-Myers Squibb is planning to make an equity investment in Vedanta Biosciences, which will retain control of its VE800 program, including global research and development (R&D) and commercial rights.
The equity investment from Bristol-Myers Squibb will be subject to certain conditions.
Bristol-Myers Squibb development, oncology head Fouad Namouni said: “Vedanta Biosciences is a leading company focused on the characterization of immunomodulatory human gut commensals and the development of live bacterial products for the potential treatment of human diseases.
“Our collaboration with Vedanta Biosciences will allow us to gain a deeper understanding about the emerging microbiome landscape, its role in oncology, and the potential to improve outcomes for patients with advanced or metastatic cancer.”