Lyon-based therapeutics firm MaaT says the funding will enable continued clinical development of its current pipeline, as well as expansion into additional oncological indications where restoring a functional microbiome could provide significant therapeutic benefit when combined with other cancer treatments such as immune checkpoint inhibitors.
The Series B financing was backed by a number of new and existing investors, including microbiome-focused US financier SymBiosis LLC, Paris-based microbiome investment firm Seventure Partners, Crédit Mutuel Innovation, and Biocodex.
Proceeds will be used to complete the ongoing HERACLES Phase II clinical trial (NCT03359980) of MaaT’s lead compound, MaaT013, in patients with steroid-refractory, gastrointestinal-predominant, acute Graft-versus-Host-Disease (SR aGvHD) following allogeneic Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation (allo-HSCT).
Furthermore, the company says it will accelerate development of a capsule formulation for MaaT013 and MaaT033, which will ease administration and enable the expansion of the company’s pipeline into new oncological indications, including the initiation of a Phase 1b clinical trial with MaaT033.
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“We are excited to have added a US-based investor to our syndicate based on the strategic importance of the US market for our future development. I would like to thank our existing investors and our network of scientific advisors for their continued support as we enter into this next development phase for the company,” said Hervé Affagard, co-founder and CEO of MaaT Pharma.
MaaT noted that some recent studies have suggested that restoring balance to the microbiome can significantly improve clinical outcomes of checkpoint inhibitors in cancer treatment. The company will now investigate this potential in a combination trial in solid tumours.
“A growing body of evidence suggests that a functional microbiome can improve cancer outcomes, and we look forward to continue building on our initial proof of concept by going beyond hematological malignancies into solid tumours.”
Formed in 2014, MaaT Pharma is focused on combating a range of conditions - including cancers and Graft-versus-Host-Disease, a serious complication of allogeneic stem cell transplantation - through microbiome therapeutics.
Its product candidates are based on the company’s proprietary MaaT Microbiome Restoration Biotherapeutics (MMRB) platform.
Lead product candidate MaaT013 is an enema formulation characterized by a high consistent richness of microbial species, whose specific bacteria are protected thanks to a proprietary formulation, derived from pooling the full intestinal ecosystems of stringently vetted, healthy donors, says the firm. The product is manufactured at MaaT’s centralised European cGMP production facility.
"Supporting the further expansion of our pipeline into improving outcomes of immunotherapy in solid tumors, we have built a powerful discovery and analysis platform, GutPrint, to evaluate drug candidates, determine novel disease targets and identify biomarkers for microbiome-related conditions," the company adds in a press release.
Aside from its ongoing HERACLES Phase II trial, for which results are expected in 2020, MaaT says it has provided MaaT013 to a compassionate use program for patients who had failed to respond to previous treatments for SR aGvHD.
In total, over 50 patients with severe hematological malignancies have been treated with the company’s product candidate. The data collected up to date demonstrate that reintroduction of a full-ecosystem microbiota is well tolerated in these patients and provides initial signs of therapeutic benefit.