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Elevo’s microbes modulate and boost the immune system

The structural forces that are driving change are opening up entirely new investment opportunities. Against the dynamic global backdrop, these opportunities are by no means easy to identify and structure. Credit Suisse Asset Management has therefore defined four drivers of change and developed thematic funds covering the relevant areas of investment focus: robotics, protection and security, digital health, and infrastructure. A strict best practice approach is adopted to selecting individual securities, as the case study below illustrates.¹

June 24, 2019

Simba Gill

CEO, Evelo Biosciences, Inc.

Elevo’s microbes modulate and boost the immune system

“We are all in a disease state”, says Simba Gill, President, Chief Executive Officer and member of the board of directors of Evelo Biosciences, Inc. since it was founded in 2015.

Modern medicines have had important positive impacts for the treatment of many diseases. “If you are over 50, there is at least a 50 percent chance that you are taking a medication today, probably for treatment of diabetes, heart disease, or blood pressure.” However, these treatments are limited by inconvenient administration, significant side effects, and high costs. In practice, this means that we treat patients today at later stages of disease. Simba Gill and his team at Evelo have uncovered biology which has the potential to dramatically improve healthcare by treating everybody at earlier stages of disease progression, ultimately even from the day of birth.

"Our goal is to create and develop a new class of therapies that have the potential to transform the treatment of a broad range of diseases by focusing on the gut-body network." Simba Gill, President and CEO of Evelo

Evelo, headquartered in Cambridge, MA, is a clinical- stage biotechnology company developing monoclonal microbials, a new modality of medicines developed to act on the gut-body network. Evelo’s product candidates are orally delivered, single strains of microbes, selected for defined pharmacological properties. They are intended to modulate systemic immunology and biology by engaging sensory immune cells in the small intestine that link the small intestine to the rest of the body. Evelo believes that monoclonal microbials have the potential to be broadly applicable across many diseases including inflammation, cancer, and autoimmune diseases.

Addressing all stages of diseases

Evelo’s product candidates have the potential to address all stages of diseases. Monoclonal microbials are expected to be widely available for the treatment of all stages of most major chronic diseases and cancer. This contrasts with current biotech medicines, which are generally a luxury for late-stage diseases.

As Simba Gill explains: “Our therapies are based on our growing understanding of the central role of the small intestine in modulating immune activity throughout the body and the important role of microbes as key modulators of the gut-body network.”

Monoclonal microbial three-step process
Monoclonal microbial three-step processSource: Evelo Biosciences, Inc., 2019

Key elements of Evelo’s strategy are

  • to realize the full potential of the gut-body network to create an expansive and diversified product portfolio;
  • to develop best-in-class therapies to improve outcomes across various stages of disease;
  • to generate early clinical readouts with biomarker-driven validation to efficiently advance our product candidates;
  • to industrialize monoclonal microbials in order to advance and scale the platform

Integrated platform

Evelo has developed an integrated platform designed to identify individual strains of microbes capable of modulating the immune system. The process development and formulation capabilities of the platform develop selected microbes into clinical product candidates. The development of monoclonal microbials has the potential to be more efficient than those of other therapeutic modalities including cell therapies, monoclonal antibodies, and small molecules. The reason is that monoclonal microbials do not require the lengthy target validation and compound optimization that is typical of conventional drug discovery. The efficiency of the platform has, in a relatively short period of time, allowed Evelo to produce three product candidates for a range of inflammatory diseases and cancer.

Currently Evelo has three product candidates, EDP1066 and EDP1815 for the treatment of inflammatory diseases, and EDP1503 for the treatment of cancer, for which ten clinical readouts are expected during 2019 and 2020. Evelo is also advancing additional candidates through preclinical development in other disease areas, including metabolic and neuroinflammatory diseases.

Simba Gill

Simba Gill has served as President, Chief Executive Officer, and member of the board of directors of Evelo Biosciences, Inc. since it was founded in 2015. He has founded and/or held lead roles in pioneering companies in the fields of antibodies, stem cells, directed molecular evolution, gene therapy, and immunodiagnostics.

Earlier in his career, Simba Gill was an entrepreneur in residence and partner at TPG Capital, a major private equity investor. Simba Gill has an MBA from INSEAD, and for his PhD he focused on developing humanized antibodies to treat cancer. This work was done at King’s College London in collaboration with Celltech.

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1 The best practice case study was presented at the flagship ETH Conference in the Robotikhalle at ETH Zurich on December 4, 2018. Credit Suisse Asset Management was the main supporter of the conference