January 12, 2015

San Francisco Business Times

Second Genome's gut check uncovers a possible drug for bowel disease

By Ron Leuty

Cutting through the gut's jungle of bacteria, Second Genome Inc. is undertaking its first study to see if its "microbiome" drug puts the brakes on a specific bacteria that drives debilitating inflammatory bowel disease.

The South San Francisco company disclosed the study Monday but was short on details, such as the specific bacterial target of the drug, called SGM-1019, its mechanism of action and how many patients are in the trial. But as the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference begins in San Francisco, the trial is sure to be a topic as Second Genome seeks to raise an undisclosed amount of money.

Results of the study are expected by the end of this year, said Second Genome President and CEO Peter DiLaura.

Second Genome's study is significant because it is the company's first trip to the clinic with a target it discovered while troweling the body's community of bacteria for ways to inhibit or help bacteria's role in a range of diseases.

The so-called microbiome where bacteria play is the focus of much study. In fact, there are other microbiome therapies in the clinic, such as transplanting flora from feces in Crohn's disease or, in the case of Cambridge, Mass.-based Seres Health, a mix of bacterial sporesthat take on the potentially deadly bacterium Clostridium difficile, or C. diff.

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