Established in June 2020, thePfizer Breakthrough Growth Initiative(PBGI) focuses on non-controlling equity investments primarily in public companies with small- to medium-sized market capitalizations and mature private companies that are developing clinical-stage assets aligned with Pfizers core areas of focus: internal medicine, inflammation and immunology, oncology, rare disease, vaccines, and hospital.
Through PBGI, the pharma giant is ready to invest up to US$500m in biotechnology companies.
This time out, besides Vedanta, Pfizer also invested in ESSA Pharma, Trillium Therapeutics, and Homology Medicines:
Pfizer has a long history of collaborating across the healthcare ecosystem with the shared goal of turning great science into innovative new medicines,said Debbie Baron, senior VP of business development, Pfizer. Our investments in Homology, Vedanta, Trillium, and ESSA reflect our commitment to find new and creative ways to leverage Pfizers resources to deliver breakthroughs to patients.
Located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Vedanta Biosciences is looking to develop a new category of therapies for immune-mediated diseases based on human microbiome-derived bacteria.
The company intends to use the funding to support a Phase 2 study of its orally administered investigational live biotherapeutic product (LBP), VE202, in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), which it plans to initiate in 2021.
A Phase 1 study data showed VE202 was generally safe and well-tolerated at all doses and demonstrated durable and dose-dependent colonization, said Vedanta.
VE202 was designed to induce immune tolerance via the gut and thereby potentially treat IBD. Results describing the biology and candidate selection of VE202 were previously published inScience and Nature.
The LBP is produced under GMP conditions from pure, clonal bacterial cell banks, which yield a standardized drug product in powdered form and bypasses the need to rely on direct sourcing of fecal donor material of inconsistent composition.
Inflammatory bowel disease has a daily, chronic impact on as many as 1.6 million Americans, and with cases on the rise in the US, patients urgently need new therapeutic options, said Michael Vincent, Senior VP and CSO, inflammation and immunology research unit, Pfizer. We believe Vedantas approach to modulating the microbiome may hold promise for people living with IBD.
As part of the investment, Dr Vincent will join Vedantas Scientific Advisory Board.Vedanta will retain control of all its programs and has granted Pfizer a right of first negotiation on VE202.
Oher pharma companies are exploring this category.
In April last year, Gilead announced partnership to identify microbiome biomarkers associated with a clinical response in compounds within its portfolio.
Second Genome analyses the human microbiome to discover biomarkers, biological pathways and targets for the development, or augmentation, of treatments. The companys focus on IBD dovetails with Gileads own work in the gastrointestinal area.
The partnership consists of a four-year collaboration, including the possibility of a further two-year extension, which sees Second Genome receive $38m (34m) upfront and a potential $300m (274m) for each target discovery programs as they progress.
Gilead will select up to five compounds from its pipeline in inflammation and fibrosis, among other diseases, which will then be matched against biomarkers discovered by Second Genomes microbiome analytics platform. The focus will be on the potential development of targets or drug candidates relevant to IBD.
Recommendation and review posted by G. Smith