Enterome is entering a clinical trial that will evaluate a novel therapy that targets the microbiome to treat Crohn’s disease.
Enterome, a biotech from Paris targeting the microbiome to improve human health, has just initiated its first clinical trial. The drug candidate, EB8018, targets a bacterial gene involved in Crohn’s disease, an inflammatory disease of the gastrointestinal tract.
Enterome uses its metagenomics platform to identify microbiome disease targets. EB8018 is directed at the FimH adhesin gene in E. coli, which is involved in the attachment of these bacteria to the gut wall, triggering an inflammatory response. In parallel with the Phase I trial, the company is developing a non-invasive test to screen patients for the FimH gene and select those who will benefit from the therapy.
While other treatments target inflammation or the immune system response, Enterome’s approach aims for a direct cause of the disease. And unlike antibiotics, EB8018 only targets a specific gene without altering the rest of the microbiome.
If the therapy proves safe and effective in clinical trials, these advantages could help Enterome overtake therapeutic antibody blockbusters like AbbVie’s Humira (adalimumab) or Janssen’s Remicade (infliximab), which are currently common therapies for Crohn’s disease.
However, Enterome already has several competitors. Two of them are already in Phase I: the British 4D Pharma is currently evaluating Thetanix, consisting of live bacteria with anti-inflammatory activity, to treat pediatric Crohn’s disease. Seres Therapeutics, in the US, is testing the potential of administering bacteria from healthy donors.
Although the field is still young, the potential of microbiomics is starting to attract investment: Seventure, one of the top European VCs, has a fund dedicated solely to microbiomics. Recently, Enterome initiated a partnership with big pharma Bristol-Myers Squibb to explore the potential of the microbiome in the fight against cancer.
With increasing evidence linking human health and the microbiome, the field will likely continue providing creative solutions in a variety of conditions that didn’t appear to be related to the gut until now.
Images by Sciencepics, Kateryna Kon/Shutterstock