The collaboration will leverage Novome’s GEMMs platform for growing therapeutically engineered bacteria in the human gut


Genentech headquarters in South San Francisco. (Credit: Coolcaesar/English Wikipedia.)

Genentech, a subsidiary of Roche, has joined forces with Novome Biotechnologies to develop targets against inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

The collaboration will leverage Novome’s Genetically Engineered Microbial Medicines (GEMMs) platform to colonise the human gut with select engineered bacteria.

The bacteria will deliver specific therapeutically significant molecules to help targets in the intestinal tract, for the treatment of various diseases, including IBD.

Under the terms of the research collaboration and licensing agreement, Novome will conduct research activities up to the initiation of IND-enabling preclinical studies.

It is eligible to receive an upfront payment of $15m, and potential development and commercial milestone payments of up to $590m in the future, in addition to tiered royalties.

Genentech will be responsible for the clinical development of candidates and the commercialisation of potential targets developed under the collaboration.

Also, Novome will retain rights to develop its own IBD candidates using targets that are not included in the collaboration.

Roche pharma partnering global head James Sabry said: “We believe Novome’s GEMMs platform could be an important approach for developing oral cell-based therapeutics.

“This partnership, which combines Novome’s unique platform and our research expertise, complements our efforts to discover and accelerate new treatments for patients with inflammatory bowel diseases.”

Novome is a clinical-stage biotechnology company engaged in developing engineered cellular therapies for the gut to treat chronic diseases.

Its GEMMs is the first platform for the controlled colonisation of the human gut with engineered bacteria to deliver targeted therapeutic cargos and functions.

The company is leveraging the GEMMs platform in its lead programme in enteric hyperoxaluria (EH), which has entered into a Phase 1 clinical trial earlier this year.

EH programme is focused on the development of a bacterial strain that degrades oxalate to decrease the risk of kidney stone formation.

The programme targeting IBD is the third programme in its pipeline, said the company.

Novome CEO Blake Wise said: “We are extremely pleased to establish this strategic collaboration with Genentech, a recognised global leader in therapeutic innovation, which will serve to accelerate preclinical research into a new disease area for us.

“Our unique platform for colonising the gut with engineered microbes capable of delivering novel and validated cargo has great potential to help people suffering from IBD.

“It is our hope that, with access to the deep research expertise of Genentech’s scientific teams, we can advance this exciting science more rapidly and deliver a truly needed therapy to people living with IBD.”