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Genome & Company receives FDA IND clearance for GEN-001, its first anti-cancer microbiome therapeutic

SEOUL, South Korea, April 20, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Genome & Company (KONEX: 314130), a biotechnology company developing innovative therapeutics in immune-oncology, announced today that the United States (US) Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has accepted the Investigational New Drug (IND) application for GEN-001 for combination treatment with avelumab (BAVENCIO®) in patients with solid cancers. Avelumab is an anti-PD-L1 antibody co-developed and co-commercialized by Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany and Pfizer Inc.

With this clearance, Genome & Company will be the first Asian company to initiate a first-in-human trial of anti-cancer microbiome and anti-PD1/anti-PD-L1 combination treatment as a sole sponsor. The phase 1/1b clinical trial will be initiated at the US clinical sites and the first patient is expected to be enrolled within this year.

"IND clearance from FDA for our first anti-cancer microbiome therapeutic GEN-001 is a very significant milestone as it will transition Genome & Company into a clinical-stage biotechnology company. We hope to add meaningful value and advancement in the microbiome and immuno-oncology industry with our combinational approach to cancer patients who have progressed on prior anti-PD1/anti-PD-L1 therapy," said Dr. Hansoo Park, Chief Technical Officer of Genome & Company.

Dr. Jisoo Pae, CEO of Genome & Company further quoted, "This IND approval is a meaningful corporate milestone and a critical step forward to achieving new arrangements in strategic partnering. We are indeed looking forward to further investigate how our clinical data will be translated into our cancer patients. I thank all the members and partners of Genome & Company for dedicating themselves to accomplishing this milestone."

In January this year, Genome & Company had entered into a clinical trial collaboration and supply agreement with Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany and Pfizer Inc. to evaluate the safety, tolerability, biological and clinical activities of GEN-001 therapy in combination with avelumab in multiple cancer indications. The combination trial is designed to be a first-in-human study including dose escalation and expansion cohorts to evaluate the safety and preliminary efficacy.

BAVENCIO® is a trademark of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany.

About GEN-001

GEN-001 is an oral microbiome therapeutic candidate developed to have immune modulating activities, resulting in potential partnership with immune checkpoint inhibitors. GEN-001 consists a single strain bacteria isolated from gut of healthy human volunteers that has been shown to activate dendritic cells, macrophages and T cell response. In preclinical studies, GEN-001 has shown optimal safety margin and synergistic effects in combination with immune checkpoint inhibitors by enhancing the effect of suppressing the growth of both immune checkpoint inhibitor sensitive and resistant tumor models.

About Genome & Company

Genome & Company is a clinical stage biotechnology company based in Republic of Korea that focuses on discovering and developing the next waves of innovative therapeutics in immuno-oncology through diverse modalities of microbiome, novel target immune checkpoint inhibitors and fusion proteins to fulfill the unmet needs of cancer patients. 

Avelumab Approved Indications

Avelumab (BAVENCIO®) in combination with axitinib is indicated in the US, EU, Japan and other countries for the first-line treatment of patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma (RCC).

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also granted accelerated approval for avelumab (BAVENCIO®) for the treatment of (i) adults and pediatric patients 12 years and older with metastatic Merkel cell carcinoma (mMCC) and (ii) patients with locally advanced or metastatic urothelial carcinoma (mUC) who have disease progression during or following platinum-containing chemotherapy, or have disease progression within 12 months of neoadjuvant or adjuvant treatment with platinum-containing chemotherapy. These indications are approved under accelerated approval based on tumor response rate and duration of response. Continued approval for these indications may be contingent upon verification and description of clinical benefit in confirmatory trials.

Avelumab is currently approved for patients with mMCC in 50 countries globally, with the majority of these approvals in a broad indication that is not limited to a specific line of treatment.

Avelumab Important Safety Information from the US FDA-Approved Label

The warnings and precautions for avelumab (BAVENCIO®) include immune-mediated adverse reactions (such as pneumonitis and hepatitis [including fatal cases], colitis, endocrinopathies, nephritis and renal dysfunction and other adverse reactions [which can be severe and have included fatal cases]), infusion-related reactions, hepatotoxicity, major adverse cardiovascular events (MACE) [which can be severe and have included fatal cases], and embryo-fetal toxicity.

Common adverse reactions (reported in at least 20% of patients) in patients treated with BAVENCIO® monotherapy include fatigue, musculoskeletal pain, diarrhea, nausea, infusion-related reaction, peripheral edema, decreased appetite/hypophagia, urinary tract infection and rash. Common adverse reactions (reported in at least 20% of patients) in patients receiving BAVENCIO® in combination with axitinib include diarrhea, fatigue, hypertension, musculoskeletal pain, nausea, mucositis, palmar-plantar erythrodysesthesia, dysphonia, decreased appetite, hypothyroidism, rash, hepatotoxicity, cough, dyspnea, abdominal pain and headache.  Grade 3-4 clinical chemistry and hematology laboratory value abnormalities reported in at least 10% of patients treated with BAVENCIO® monotherapy include hyponatremia, lymphopenia, GGT increased; in patients receiving BAVENCIO® in combination with axitinib, grade 3-4 clinical chemistry and hematology laboratory value abnormalities included blood triglyceride increased and lipase increased.

For full Prescribing Information and Medication Guide for BAVENCIO®, please see

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Genome & Company receives FDA IND clearance for GEN-001, its first anti-cancer microbiome therapeutic

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Last Updated: 20-Apr-2020