Vedanta Biosciences signs immune-boosting microbiome technology agreement with Japanese institutions


Also announces second patent in Japan for pharmaceutical compositions and methods of use in autoimmune, inflammatory and infectious diseases

Vedanta Biosciences, a US developer of a new class of therapies designed to modulate the human microbiome, has signed a licensing agreement with RIKEN and the University of Tokyo and Azabu University for technology.

The new technology, developed by RIKEN Team Leader and Vedanta Co-founder, Kenya Honda, has potential clinical applications in infectious diseases, vaccine design and immuno-oncology. Vedanta has also received a second patent in Japan for key intellectual property.

Under the terms of the agreement, Cambridge, MA-based Vedanta will collaborate with Dr Honda’s lab to investigate potential pharmaceutical candidates involving bacterial strains that activate immune cells in the human gut called Th17 cells. These cells may help protect the body against infectious pathogens and are also a potential target in the treatment of cancer.

'This technology introduces a new way in which we can harness the immune system in the treatment of disease,' Honda said. 'Microbes that stimulate Th17 cells may lead to new avenues in vaccine design and in novel therapies for cancer and microbial infections.'

This new technology broadens Vedanta’s ability to develop immunotherapies based on bacterial strains derived from the gut microbiota

Vedanta is a leader in the microbiome field in developing a platform for the discovery, development, and manufacturing of drugs based on live commensal microbes. Using its proprietary technology, Vedanta has isolated a library of human-associated bacterial strains and characterised how the immune system recognises and responds to bacteria. The company has generated a pipeline of microbial drug candidates that can suppress – or tone down – the immune system, a potentially beneficial approach for managing inflammatory or autoimmune diseases where the immune system is overactive and causes damage to the body. The licensing agreement broadens Vedanta’s pipeline by adding candidates that conversely stimulate the immune system to fight infections and cancer.

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'This new technology, coupled with our proprietary platform, broadens Vedanta’s ability to develop immunotherapies based on bacterial strains derived from the gut microbiota,' said Vedanta's Chief Executive Bernat Olle. 'We previously demonstrated we can develop therapies to potentially calm overactive immune responses. This technology enables us to do the opposite – to harness bacteria to potentially activate immune cells when needed.'