In a new setback, Seres cites Covid impact after deciding to shelve its lead microbiome cancer program
Seven months after a big, come-from-behind win in Phase III for its lead microbiome program, Seres has another setback to report — this time on the cancer front.
The biotech $MCRB says that its partnered program with the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy in metastatic melanoma is being shelved, citing “challenges” presented by running the study during the pandemic. Word is that they came to the decision to sideline the effort after 10 patients received a combination of SER-401 with Opdivo, Bristol Myers’ big PD-1.
Given challenges in enrollment due to the COVID-19 pandemic, subsequent anticipated time to study completion, and progress in its preclinical oncology pipeline, Seres has decided to deprioritize further development of SER-401. The Company will continue to advance its research and development efforts in cancer, applying learnings from the SER-401 trial.
This setback is unusual in cancer studies, as most of the sponsors working in the oncology field have reported good progress in continuing their work throughout the pandemic.
The partners, who included researchers at MD Anderson, have been following signs that a fine tuning of the gut microbiome could improve outcomes among patients resistant to the PD-1 class. And the biotech insists that it’s hyped up over its potential in oncology, where it’s working with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and considering an option IP for Jennifer Wargo at MD Anderson.
We’re not going to find out what the potential is from this study, though, as Seres has no plans to retry the melanoma study at a later date.
The alliance between Seres, PICI and MD Anderson dates back almost 4 years now, back when Roger Pomerantz was CEO of the biotech. He left after the lead program experienced a major breakdown, though SER-109 came through in a Phase III study for recurrent C. difficile infection last summer. Seres is now looking to expand its safety results with a plan to file a BLA.