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Janssen, Enterome and Kymab in research collaborations

pharmafile | January 7, 2016 | News story | Research and Development Crohn's, Crohn’s disease, Enterome, Janssen, MD Anderson, alliance, antibodies, collaboration, crohn's disease, immuno-oncology, kymab, research 

Several pharma companies have announced new collaborations, to research potential new drugs for Crohn’s disease, and immuno-oncology treatments for cancer.

Janssen, the pharmaceutical arm of consumer giant Johnson & Johnson, is teaming up with Enterome and the French National Institute for Agriculture Research (INRA), to discover new targets and molecules from the gut microbiome – the population of bacteria in the human intestinal system – for the potential development of therapeutic solutions to Crohn’s disease.

The collaboration is based on initial findings by INRA showing that some bacteria create an anti-inflammatory effect in the human gut, which point towards new avenues for research into treatments for stomach conditions like Crohn’s. 

Under the terms of the agreement, Enterome is eligible to receive an upfront payment plus R&D funding from Janssen, which will gain an option to take an exclusive license to further develop and commercialize promising candidates that may arise from the collaboration. Janssen’s Human Microbiome Institute will also join the collaboration to help accelerate the translation of microbiome science into therapeutic solutions in the area of Crohn’s disease.

Enterome has already identified bacterial strains, genes and products with immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory properties , and the collaboration aims to these bacterial products, increase knowledge of the regulation of immunity and the balance of gut bacteria, and potentially lead to the development of new therapeutic solutions for Crohn’s disease.

Enterome is pioneering the development of novel drugs and diagnostics to support personalised therapies in microbiome-related diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease, cancer and metabolic diseases. This month the company also signed a research agreement with Takeda.

Pierre Belichard, who is chief executive of Enterome, comments: “Enterome is proud of its leading position in discovering and developing microbiome-derived therapeutics for Crohn’s disease, and we look forward to advancing through collaborations that continue to reflect positively on our strong recognition from the pharmaceutical industry.”

Immuno-oncology partnerships

The Janssen deal came as Kymab, a human monoclonal antibody biopharma company, and the University of Texas MD Anderson’s Oncology Research for Biologics and Immunotherapy Translation (ORBIT) unit, announced a strategic cancer drug discovery and development alliance.

The alliance will use Kymouse — Kymab’s human antibody discovery platform — to explore new therapeutics for a variety of cancers and develop products to clinical proof of concept and ultimately for submission for FDA approval. The agreement is for an initial period of five years.

Dr Carlo Toniatti, executive director of ORBIT says: “These are exciting times for the development of monoclonal antibodies for cancer immunotherapy. This alliance presents a great opportunity to leverage our translational and clinical expertise, and develop innovative antibody drugs vital to helping patients in their fight against cancer.”

David Chiswell, chairman and chief executive of Kymab, adds: “Immuno-oncology is an exceptionally promising field of research and a key focus for Kymab.”

Lilian Anekwe

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