REHOVOT, Israel—Biomica, a subsidiary of Evogene Ltd. developing innovative microbiome-based therapeutics, announced today the initiation of pre-clinical studies for BMC-121 & BMC-127 in its therapeutic immuno-oncology program. The program aims to improve current cancer therapies by modulating patients’ response to immune checkpoint blockade across various cancer types through alterations of the patients’ gut microbiome.
Recent evidence supports the role of the microbiome in response to cancer therapy, and specifically demonstrates the effect of the intestinal microbiome on the response to immune checkpoint inhibitors including protein/ligand 1 (PD-1/PD-L1). This suggests that identification and administration of selected intestinal microbiome elements may provide effective means to improve anti-cancer immunotherapies.
“This entry into pre-clinical studies is an important milestone in the life of Biomica, a company formed less than two years ago. With our strong database and Evogene’s unique computational capabilities we are now turning our computational predictions to actual pre-clinical studies, and we believe BMC121 and BMC127 will be the beginning of a broad and promising microbiome-based therapeutics pipeline,” said Prof. Yehuda Ringel, Biomica CSO.
Biomica has access to Evogene’s computational predictive biology (CPB) platform and related technologies to analyze functional elements of the gut microbiome in high-resolution. Applying these analyses to relevant data of patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and renal cell carcinoma (RCC), Biomica identified key microbial functions related to the response to immune-checkpoint inhibitors. Through this, Biomica gained mechanistic understanding of the relationships of specific microbes with various human cellular processes believed to play pivotal roles in cancer and immune function.
Biomica’s unique approach focusing on the functional capabilities of the microbiome has resulted in the identification and development of two rationally-designed consortia, BMC-121 & BMC-127. Developed as live bacterial products (LBPs), BMC-121 & BMC-127 are LBP rationally-designed consortia comprised of unique microbes that harbor specific functional capabilities with the potential to enhance immunologic therapeutic responses and facilitate anti-tumor immune activity though multiple biological processes. Rationally-designed consortia are multi-strain products designed to restore diversity and specific functionality to a microbial community with individually selected, cultured bacteria.
Biomica CEO Dr. Elran Haber added, “We are excited by our first drug candidates’ entry into pre-clinical studies, advancing the company from in-silico to in-vivo stage. We believe our candidate consortia designed to enhance anti-tumor immune response provide great potential for augmenting patients’ response to immunotherapy. Our rapid advancement to pre-clinical trials was made possible by the unique predictive computational platform. We look forward to providing initial results later this year.”