Takeda partner Finch joins forces with Crestovo, leaping into a mid-stage microbiome study

About 6 months after Takeda partnered up with microbiome biotech Finch Therapeutics on a preclinical program for IBD, the Somerville, MA-based company has struck a deal to merge with Crestovo and pivot to a mid-stage therapy.

Back at the end of June, Cambridge, MA-based Crestovo launched a Phase II trial dubbed PRISM 3 for CP101, a microbiome program for Clostridium difficile infection, which Finch has also been targeting.

Crestovo’s academic collaborators, Alexander Khoruts and Michael Sadowsky, ran an open-label study in 49 patients that they deemed a success, with 88% of the patients not seeing a recurrence of C diff over two months. The Cambridge, MA-based company then started to recruit 240 patients for a pivotal trial of the therapy.

Back in April, Finch CEO Mark Smith told me that he had been collaborating with colleagues at MIT on a “suite of algorithms to apply to data on fecal transplantation, to reverse engineer effective therapies, then identify with computational approaches which bugs drive clinical responses.” He’s been building the biotech on the foundation provided by OpenBiome, a fecal transplant company he founded.

Smith will now serve as CEO of the combined company — Finch Therapeutics Group, while Crestovo CEO Joseph Lobacki takes the COO’s job.

According to Lobacki:

Finch Therapeutics Group is differentiated by our unique commercial-scale manufacturing operations, which through a collaboration with OpenBiome, already delivers microbiome treatments to thousands of patients each year. We are also leveraging our human-first discovery and machine-learning platform to develop Rationally-Selected Microbiota therapies for inflammatory bowel disease through our partnership with Takeda. At the same time, we continue to expand our pipeline of wholly-owned candidates for diseases impacted by the microbiome.

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Research Scientist - Immunology
Recursion Pharmaceuticals Salt Lake City, UT
Director of Operations
Atlas Venture Cambridge, MA

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