Evelo Therapeutics is a new company focused on leveraging the power of the microbiome to develop novel therapies for cancer. It has with an initial capital commitment of $35 million.
Evelo is pioneering Oncobiotic™ therapeutics, a new modality in cancer therapy based on the cancer microbiome. Evelo is the first company to systematically identify, characterize and understand the biology of cancer-associated bacteria (CAB) and bacterial immune activators (BIAs™), providing new insights into cancer metabolism and immuno-oncology. The microbiome is the collection of trillions of microbes that live in and on the human body. In recent years, scientists have found that the microbiome plays a crucial role in many areas of human biology and disease.
Evelo’s Oncobiotic platform would treat cancer through unprecedented therapeutic modalities. Evelo’s novel approaches leverage tumor-microenvironment modifications that can be mediated by the microbiome to disrupt tumor metabolism and the interactions between the tumor and surrounding tissue.
This platform has four components:
1. Characterization of CAB and BIA™
2. A proprietary CAB database and computational biology platform yielding novel therapeutically relevant insights
3. Candidate optimization for specific cancer therapeutic activities
4. Proprietary in vitro and in vivo assay systems that uniquely focus on the CAB and BIA™ cancer interface
Evelo’s Oncobiotics are able to treat cancer through different mechanisms, including:
· Activation and priming of the immune system
· Disrupting the tumor microenvironment:
– by interfering with tumor metabolism
– by modifying the interaction of tumors with their surrounding cells and tissues (stroma)
The microbiome – the trillions of microbes that live on and within our body – plays a critical role in human biology and health.
Scientists are discovering the strong association between human cancers and the microbiome. Bacteria are found in most human cancers, reflecting the complex relationship between the underlying genetics of the patient and their microbiome.
The microbiome creates a specific microenvironment surrounding malignant tumors. Specific bacteria home to cancer cells and play supportive roles in tumor metabolism, tumor/cell interactions and protecting the tumor by suppressing the immune response.
Evelo is also exploring novel Oncobiotic approaches that can leverage the ability of bacteria to uniquely and powerfully activate the immune system to fight cancer. In this respect, Evelo is developing a next-generation approach to immuno-oncology that goes beyond check-point inhibitors and CAR-T cell therapies.
“Evelo’s proprietary technologies and platforms lay the foundation for the first company to approach treating cancer through an understanding of the microbiome,” said Dr. Noubar Afeyan, senior managing partner and CEO of Flagship Ventures, and co-founder of Evelo.
“Flagship VentureLabs has been developing therapeutic platforms based on the microbiome for more than five years,” said Dr. David Berry, general partner at Flagship Ventures and co-founder of Evelo. “We believe Evelo’s proprietary Oncobiotic platform will lead to many new important products that revolutionize the treatment of cancer through this next-generation immunotherapy and through manipulation of the tumor microenvironment.”