Seres Therapeutics, Inc. (Nasdaq: MCRB) and Nestlé Health Science today announced the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of VOWSTTM (fecal microbiota spores, live-brpk), formerly called SER-109, an orally administered microbiota-based therapeutic to prevent recurrence of C. difficile Infection (CDI) in adults following antibacterial treatment for recurrent CDI (rCDI). VOWST is not indicated for the treatment of CDI.
“Since being founded by Flagship Pioneering over a decade ago, Seres has led the development of microbiome therapeutics, and today’s FDA approval of VOWST as the first orally administered microbiota-based therapeutic for the prevention of recurrent C. difficile infection marks a tremendous milestone for the patient community, and for Seres. We are deeply grateful to the patients, caregivers, clinical investigators, and employees who contributed to the discovery, development, and approval of VOWST.”
“With VOWST, we and Nestlé Health Science have the opportunity to prevent recurrence in a broad group of adult rCDI patients, including those who have experienced a first recurrence.”
said Eric Shaff, President and Chief Executive Officer at Seres.
“Our strategic collaboration with Seres is part of Nestlé Health Science’s ongoing commitment to advancements in the gastrointestinal space to address unmet patient needs,”
said Greg Behar, Chief Executive Officer, Nestlé Health Science.
“Our teams have vast experience in gastrointestinal disorders and are poised to engage with healthcare professionals to start addressing this critical need for patients. We expect VOWST to be available in June and look forward to helping patients.”
Recurrent CDI represents significant unmet need and is a leading cause of hospital-acquired infection that can result in severe illness and death.1 Based on data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the companies estimate 156,000 episodes in the U.S. in 2023.
“Recurrent C. difficile infection is a highly debilitating and life-threatening disease, and antibiotics alone do not address the underlying cause of rCDI, dysbiosis of the gut microbiome,”
“The approval of VOWST provides an important new oral treatment option for this disease, and I am pleased to now be able to offer this medicine to recurrent CDI patients.”
said Carl Crawford M.D., Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College.
“Recurrent C. difficile infection significantly impacts patients’ quality of life, both physically and emotionally, leaving many living in tremendous fear of future recurrences. Patients have been waiting for new treatment options that address a key concern: prevention of an additional CDI recurrence,”
said Christian John Lillis, Executive Director at Peggy Lillis Foundation for C. diff Education and Advocacy.
VOWST Phase 3 Study Data
The FDA approval of VOWST was supported by a robust Phase 3 development program that included the ECOSPOR III and ECOSPOR IV studies. VOWST was previously granted Breakthrough Therapy and Orphan Drug Designations by the FDA.
ECOSPOR III was a multicenter, randomized, placebo-controlled study in individuals with rCDI, the results of which were published in the New England Journal of Medicine.2 The study’s primary objective was to demonstrate the reduction of CDI recurrence with VOWST. In ECOSPOR III, VOWST was shown to reduce CDI recurrence at eight weeks, with approximately 88% of individuals recurrence-free at eight weeks post-treatment, compared to 60% in participants who received placebo.2 In addition, at six months post-treatment, 79% of the VOWST group were demonstrated to be recurrence-free, compared to 53% in the placebo group.3 No treatment-related serious adverse events were observed in the active arm and the frequency of treatment-related adverse events was similar between the VOWST and placebo arms. The most common adverse reactions through eight weeks in VOWST treated participants versus placebo were solicited events of abdominal distention (31.1% VOWST versus 29.3% placebo), fatigue (22.2% VOWST versus 21.7% placebo), constipation (14.4% VOWST versus 10.9% placebo), chills (11.1% versus 7.6% placebo), and unsolicited event of diarrhea (10.0% versus 4.3% placebo).4
ECOSPOR IV was an open-label, single arm study evaluating VOWST in 263 adult participants with rCDI. Study results were published in the JAMA Network Open.5 The ECOSPOR IV study results contributed to the VOWST safety database and supported product approval.
Seres and Nestlé Health Science are committed to helping appropriate patients who have been prescribed VOWST obtain access. Additional details about VOWST access programs will be available at launch.
Joint Commercialization Agreement
In July 2021, Seres and Nestlé Health Science entered into an agreement to jointly commercialize VOWST in the U.S. and Canada. Nestlé Health Science is leveraging its global pharmaceutical business and assuming the role of lead commercialization party, including the utilization of its existing infrastructure, gastrointestinal sales force and payer access team.
Seres is due to receive a $125 million milestone payment from Nestlé Health Science associated with the FDA approval of VOWST. Upon VOWST commercialization, each company will be entitled to share equally in commercial profits and losses.