Weekend News: Business, Finance and Innovations in Biotech and Pharma Industries


Check out the bad news that came for Seres Therapeutics followed by a Pfizer’s good news regarding ulcerative colitis drug, Xeljanz®. Read about the two companies who collaborated to develop therapeutics for liver ailments.


Seres Therapeutics’ SER-109 Failed in Interim Phase II Study

Microbiome therapeutics company, Seres Therapeutics’ SER-109 failed to reduce the relative risk of Clostridium Difficile infection (CDI) recurrence in patients in its Phase II interim 8-week result.

In the Phase II, 24-week, placebo-controlled study, 89 patients were randomised in which 44% of those  receiving SER-109 showed CDI recurrence compared to 53% of those on placebo in 8-week data. No difference was observed in the adverse event frequency or type in the patients receiving SER-109 versus those on placebo.

Roger Pomerantz, MD, President, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of Seres said “C. Difficile infection treatment options, including unregulated fecal microbial transplants, remain poor. The confounding placebo data obtained in this study further highlight the significant need for new, effective, FDA regulated therapeutic options for these patients. We will take our learnings from this study and continue in our pioneering efforts to develop meaningful new microbiome therapeutics for C. Difficile infection and other serious diseases”.


Pfizer’s Ulcerative Colitis Drug showed Positive Phase III Results

Pfizer’s Xeljanz® (tofacitinib) demonstrated promising results in the third Phase III clinical trial for the treatment of ulcerative colitis (UC). The 52-week study was done to evaluate the oral tofacitinib 5mg and 10 mg twice daily treatment as a maintenance treatment for adult patients with moderate to severe UC. It showed significantly higher results compared to placebo.

Xeljanz is a prescription medicine in US called a Janus Kinase (JK) inhibitor used for the treatment of moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis.

Ulcerative colitis is a chronic, often debilitating inflammatory condition that can be difficult to treat. There are a limited number of therapies available and patients need additional treatment options” said Michael Corbo, PhD, Chief Development Officer, Inflammation & Immunology, Pfizer, Inc. “These findings, along with the previously released positive induction data from the OCTAVE studies, are encouraging and provide evidence that tofacitinib, if approved, has the potential to be an effective new oral treatment option that both induces and maintains remission. We are proud to advance our clinical development program for tofacitinib as we work to bring a potential new treatment option to patients living with ulcerative colitis”.


Ligand and Nucorion Collaborated to Develop Liver-Related Medications

US-based Ligand Pharmaceuticals tied up in a licence agreement with a venture-funded biotechnology company, Nucorion Pharmaceuticals for three programs which will utilize Ligand’s LTP (Liver Targeting Prodrug) technology.

The preclinical programs under this license include NUC-202 for the treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma; NUC-404 for the treatment of hepatitis B; and NUC-101 for the treatment of hepatitis C. Under the agreement, Ligand will receive milestone payments as well as royalties ranging from 5to 9% on net sales of the Nucorion developed products.

Featured Image Credit: Pixabay

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