Takeda partners with an upstart drugs-from-bugs microbiome player inspired by a fecal transplantation biz

"Back when Mark Smith was working on his PhD at MIT about 6 years ago, his girlfriend’s cousin was infected with C.diff. After 7 reoccurrences following treatment with vancomycin, though, the cousin finally beat it by getting a fecal transplant, with his roommate as the donor.

That incident both intrigued him and inspired Smith’s first jump into a startup, OpenBiome, which uses screened fecal samples for a more systematic approach in creating a safe, reliable supply of transplants to a growing market.

Smith’s second startup was a natural extension of the first venture: Finch Therapeutics, a microbiome company which is developing new drugs-from-bugs — an approach which has helped inspire a roster of startups over the last two years. And today, the low-profile biotech — which has mushroomed overnight in Somerville, MA into a 65-employee company that’s deeply engaged in manufacturing work and focusing on two development programs – is unveiling its first industry partnership.

Takeda, the Japanese pharma company with a growing Boston R&D operation, is paying $10 million up front on a very early-stage deal to partner on FIN-524, a preclinical program for IBD."

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