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uBiome, University of Louisville Partner on IBD Study

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) — Microbial genomics firm uBiome announced today that it has partnered with University of Louisville investigators to study whether the microbiome can be used to predict patient responses to certain inflammatory bowel disease therapies.

Under the terms of their arrangement, uBiome and university researchers Brandon Wuerth and Gerald Dryden will conduct a study evaluating microbiota as a potential predictor of clinical responses to biologic-based IBD treatments such as Takeda Pharmaceuticals' ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease treatment Entyvio (vedolizumab) and Janssen Biotech's Crohn's drug Stelara (ustekinumab).

The microbiomes of study participants with active disease and those without will be compared at the beginning of the study and at six months, uBiome said. Data collected will include a clinical symptom score, C-reactive protein as a response to inflammation, fecal calprotectin, endoscopy data, number of hospitalizations, and number of times placed on steroids.

"This study has the potential to inform a more personalized approach to IBD treatment and to improve outcomes," uBiome Cofounder and CEO Jessica Richman said in a statement.

Earlier this year, uBiome disclosed that it had cut 55 of its 300 employees in order to support its move forward "with additional laboratory tests, developing novel therapeutics and collaborations with pharma, establishing partnerships with retailers and other members of industry, and fostering new relationships with insurers."

In September, the San Francisco-based company raised $83 million in a Series C financing round.