US-based Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) and French company Enterome have signed an agreement for the discovery and development of microbiome-derived biomarkers, drug targets and bioactive molecules as potential companion diagnostics and therapeutics for cancer.
As part of the immuno-oncology collaboration, the companies will also identify new microbiome-derived biomarkers to improve clinical outcomes for patients treated with Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Immuno-Oncology portfolio.
The partnership will combine BMS’s discovery and development expertise of novel immunotherapies with Enterome’s metagenomic technology platform to support the discovery of novel immunotherapy agents and biomarkers.
Bristol-Myers Squibb discovery head Carl Decicco said: “We continue to pursue the full potential of Immuno-Oncology by applying rapidly evolving science, technology and research to our strong foundation in harnessing the immune system to fight cancer.
“Enterome’s focus on target identification and validation along with their significant experience in microbiome research can help to advance our goal to improve outcomes for patients treated with immunotherapies.”
Under the agreement, BMS will gain exclusive rights to intellectual property and therapies that are generated during the collaboration.
Enterome will receive $15m for access to its technology and preclinical and clinical milestone payments for each licensed therapeutic candidate.
The company will also receive payments in relation to new diagnostic products discovered and developed during the collaboration.
According to scientific evidences, gut microbiome plays an important role in modulating mechanisms of response and resistance to cancer immunotherapies.
BMS said that the collaboration would focus on exploiting the gut microbiome-driven changes in a host’s immune system to identify specific targets and bioactive compounds in a bid to augment anti-cancer immune responses.
Image: A research campus operated by Bristol-Myers Squibb in Princeton, New Jersey. Photo: courtesy of Coolcaesar.