Research will leverage Artizan’s proprietary IgA-SEQ™ discovery platform to identify gut microbiota that may affect the safety and efficacy of immune checkpoint inhibitor therapies.
NEW HAVEN, CT – Artizan Biosciences, Inc. (“Artizan”), a biotechnology company creating gut exclusive microbial metalloprotease inhibitors (GEMMi), a new class of transformative precision therapeutics that disrupt chronic inflammatory disease triggers, today announced that it has entered into a multi-year research collaboration with the University Medical Center Utrecht (“UMC Utrecht”) in The Netherlands and Microviable Therapeutics SL (“Microviable”) to explore the role that gut microbiota may have in immune checkpoint inhibitor (“ICI”) therapies for patients with cancer.
“We are excited by the potential of this collaboration to showcase the diversity of Artizan’s unique technology platform and to further expand our pipeline into oncology,” said Bridget Martell, M.A., M.D., Artizan’s President and CEO. “As published in the Journal of the American Medical Association[i], approximately 43.6% of US patients with cancer are eligible for ICI therapy, yet only 12.5% of treated patients respond to it. We look forward to working with UMC Utrecht and Microviable to identify potential solutions that can improve patient outcomes and reduce the side effects of ICI treatment.”
Intestinal microbiota have been implicated in modulating efficacy responses of ICI therapy and these effects can be reproduced in mouse tumor models that have been colonized with humanized microbiotas.[ii],[iii]. Artizan’s proprietary IgA-SEQ™ discovery platform interrogates microbial communities to identify individual bacterial strains and key virulence factors that elicit immunologic dysregulation. By leveraging this unique discovery platform, the collaboration will potentially determine specific bacteria producing factors within the gut microbiota that can either effect ICI therapeutic response and / or lessen treatment side effects.
In partnership with UMC Utrecht, Artizan Biosciences will collaborate on the analysis of an extensive biobank of more than 200 patients with cancer that includes samples taken both before and during ICI therapy, including patients that have experienced intestinal immune-related adverse events (“irAEs”). Using Artizan’s IgA-SEQ technology, the research team will identify pivotal bacteria that evoke immune responses with the objective of unravelling the mechanisms through which these bacteria affect ICI therapy using in vivo and in vitro model systems. Once identified, Artizan aims to develop small molecule therapeutics that inhibit these targets thereby modulating the pathological oncologic drivers.
“In up to 56% of irAE cases in ICI treated patients,[iv] symptoms present in the intestinal tract as moderate to severe intestinal inflammation, resembling what is seen in patients with inflammatory bowel disease,” said Marcel de Zoete, Ph.D., Co-Founder of Artizan and Associate Professor of Microbiome Research at the Department of Medical Microbiology at the UMC Utrecht. “Recent data show a clear correlation between ICI induced irAEs severity and overall cancer survival[v]. The key challenge is how to maximize ICI therapy effectiveness while minimizing irAEs.”
[i] JAMA Netw Open. 2020;3(3):e200423. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2020.0423
[ii] Routy B, Le Chatelier E, Derosa L, Duong CPM, Alou MT, Daillère R, et al. Gut microbiome influences efficacy of PD-1-based immunotherapy against epithelial tumors. Science. 2018;359(6371):91-7.
[iii] Gopalakrishnan V, Spencer CN, Nezi L, Reuben A, Andrews MC, Karpinets TV, et al.Gut microbiome modulates response to anti-PD-1 immunotherapy in melanoma patients. Science. 2018;359(6371):97-103.
[iv] Anderson R, Theron AJ, Rapoport BL. Immunopathogenesis of Immune Checkpoint Inhibitor-Related Adverse Events: Roles of the Intestinal Microbiome and Th17 Cells. Front Immunol. 2019;10:2254.
[v] Verheijden RJ, May AM, Blank CU, Aarts MJB, van den Berkmortel F, van den Eertwegh AJM, et al. Association of Anti-TNF with Decreased Survival in Steroid Refractory Ipilimumab and Anti-PD1-Treated Patients in the Dutch Melanoma Treatment Registry. Clin Cancer Res. 2020;26(9):2268-74.
About Artizan Biosciences, Inc.
Artizan Biosciences is creating new classes of precision therapies targeting chronic inflammation and immune dysregulation by leveraging the human gut as a drug discovery tool. The Company’s novel platform disrupts intestinal triggers of the inflammation process, using multi-modality approaches, with a specific focus on small molecule inhibitors. In doing so, Artizan has created a new molecular class, GEMMi, which are gut exclusive microbial metalloprotease inhibitors. These compounds are designed to target the pathogenic mechanisms serving as inflammatory triggers in inflammatory bowel disease (“IBD”) patients, precisely. Artizan is creating multiple programs validated by strategic alliances that include Biohaven Pharmaceuticals, Brii Biosciences, and Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation. The Company’s lead program in IBD will be in the clinic by 2023. The Artizan drug discovery platform was founded with IgA-SEQ™ technology by preeminent immunobiology expertise from Yale University and is applicable to a broad range of diseases, including gastrointestinal, metabolic, autoimmune, and neurodegenerative. Artizan is based in New Haven, CT. For more information, please visit: www.artizanbiosciences.com.
About UMC Utrecht
The University Medical Center of Utrecht (UMC Utrecht) is one of the largest public healthcare institutions in the Netherlands. With over 12,000 employees, UMC Utrecht is constantly building on the provision of good healthcare services, based on the right people and knowledge. UMC Utrecht is a leading international academic medical center where knowledge of health, illness and care is generated, evaluated, shared and applied for the benefit of patients and society. UMC Utrecht is one of the participating centers in the NFU, which is the Dutch organization for University Medical Centers. The NFU is the result of a merger of the Netherlands’ university hospitals and medical centers.
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