Takeda's Partner Merges With Crestovo to Form Finch Therapeutics Group

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Two privately-held biotechs have merged to tackle recurrent C. difficile infections.

Finch Therapeutics and Cambridge, Mass.-based Crestovo completed a merger into the integrated microbiome company Finch Therapeutics Group. The merger combines Crestovo’s late-stage C. diff treatment, CP-101 an oral Full-Spectrum Microbiota product, with Finch’s manufacturing capabilities as well as that company’s machine-learning platform that allows it to reverse engineer clinical and molecular data. Finch also operates one of the largest stool donation programs in the world and manufactures approximately 1,000 microbial treatments every month, according to company data.

The new company will be headquartered in Somerville and be helmed by Finch Chief Executive Officer Mark Smith.  Joseph Lobacki, who had been serving as interim-CEO for Crestovo, will assume the role of chief operating officer. 

Earlier this year, Finch and Japanese pharma giant Takeda signed a deal to jointly develop FIN-524, a live biotherapeutic product to treat ulcerative colitis.

Through its collaboration with OpenBiome, products manufactured by Finch are distributed to a network of more than 900 providers. Finch’s leading donor program and manufacturing capabilities will enable rapid scale-up upon commercialization of its Full-Spectrum Microbiota products, the company said. 

Smith touted the combined platforms and the promise of CP101. He said the merger will allow an acceleration of the ongoing placebo-controlled CP101 trial, dubbed PRISM 3.  Dosing of the 240 patient trial has commenced. The company hopes CP101 will continue to show the successes it has in earlier trials. In an open label study of 49 patients, 88 percent achieved clinical success, which defined as no recurrence of CDI over two months.

“This combination of a potential first-in-class product candidate for recurrent C. difficile infections with a novel technology platform for developing Rationally-Selected Microbiota™ products uniquely positions Finch Therapeutics Group to deliver on both the near- and long-term promise of microbiome therapies to transform public health and quickly reach the patient populations we yearn to serve,” Smith said in a statement. 

The combined company will have a broad and comprehensive intellectual property portfolio with 26 issued U.S. and foreign patents and more than 50 filed patent applications.  

“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.” Lobacki added. 

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