PRI Publications

PRI Publications

As the EU Microbiome Regulatory Science Center, the PRI actively collaborates with experts from among its Member organizations from industry and academia in order to help advance the state-of-the-art for microbiome regulatory science standards and methods. These peer-reviewed regulatory science publications represent a collective effort in order to identify and confirm the technical and scientific requirements needed to develop microbiome-based medicinal products for the EU market.

These publications, among our other collaborative efforts (Task Groups, Representation and Partnerships), are a key outcome of what we refer to as the ‘Share & Learn Approach’ – a pre-competitive process which combines microbiome expertise with strong regulatory science principles.

Gut Microbiome Integration in Drug Discovery and Development of Small Molecules

Patrick Jimonet Céline Druart Stéphanie Blanquet-Diot Lilia BoucinhaStephanie KourulaFrançoise Le VaconSylvie MaubantSylvie RabotTom Van de WieleFrank SchurenVincent ThomasBernard WaltherMichael ZimmermannMedicen Microbiome Drug Metabolism Working Group (2024).

Human microbiomes, particularly in the gut, could have a major impact on the efficacy and toxicity of drugs. However, gut microbial metabolism is often neglected in the drug discovery and development process. Medicen, a Paris-based human health innovation cluster, has gathered more than 30 international leading experts from pharma, academia, biotech, clinical research organizations, and regulatory science to develop proposals to facilitate the integration of microbiome science into drug discovery and development. Seven subteams were formed to cover the complementary expertise areas of 1) pharma experience and case studies, 2) in silico microbiome–drug interaction, 3) in vitro microbial stability screening, 4) gut fermentation models, 5) animal models, 6) microbiome integration in clinical and regulatory aspects, and 7) microbiome ecosystems and models. Each expert team produced a state-of-the-art report of their respective field highlighting existing microbiome-related tools at every stage of drug discovery and development. The most critical limitations are the growing, but still limited, drug–microbiome interaction data to produce predictive models and the lack of agreed-upon standards despite recent progress. In this paper we will report on and share proposals covering 1) how microbiome tools can support moving a compound from drug discovery to clinical proof-of-concept studies and alert early on potential undesired properties stemming from microbiome-induced drug metabolism and 2) how microbiome data can be generated and integrated in pharmacokinetic models that are predictive of the human situation. Examples of drugs metabolized by the microbiome will be discussed in detail to support recommendations from the working group.

Postbiotics in the medical field under the perspective of the ISAPP definition: scientific, regulatory, and marketing considerations

Gabriel Vinderola, Céline Druart, Luis Gosálbez, Seppo Salminen, Nina Vinot and Sarah Lebeer (2023).

Front. Pharmacol. 14:1239745. doi: 10.3389/fphar.2023.1239745 |

Diverse terms have been used in the literature to refer to the health benefits obtained from the administration of non-viable microorganisms or their cell fragments and metabolites. In an effort to provide continuity to this emerging field, the International Scientific Association of Probiotics and Prebiotics (ISAPP) convened a panel of experts to consider this category of substances and adopted the term postbiotic, which they defined as a “preparation of inanimate microorganisms and/or their components that confers a health benefit on the host.” This definition does not stipulate any specific health benefit, finished product, target population or regulatory status. In this perspective article, we focused on postbiotics developed for pharmaceutical uses, including medicinal products and medical devices. We address how this field is regulated for products based on inanimate microorganisms, marketing considerations and existing examples of postbiotics products developed as cosmetics for the skin, for vaginal health, and as orally consumed products. We focus on the European Union for regulatory aspects, but also give examples from other geographical areas.

Entering First-in-Human Clinical Study With a Single-Strain Live Biotherapeutic Product: Input and Feedback Gained From the EMA and the FDA

Paquet J-C, Claus SP, Cordaillat-Simmons M, Mazier W, Rawadi G, Rinaldi L, Elustondo F and Rouanet A (2021).

Front. Med. 8:716266. doi: 10.3389/fmed.2021.716266 |

During the last decade, a plethora of novel therapies containing live microorganisms as active substance(s) has emerged with the aim to treat, prevent, or cure diseases in human beings. Both the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Directorate for the Quality of Medicines and Health Care (EDQM) codified these biotherapies as Live Biotherapeutic Products (LBPs). While these innovative products offer healthcare opportunities, they also represent a challenge for developers who need to set the most suitable designs for non-clinical and clinical studies in order to demonstrate a positive benefit/risk ratio through relevant quality, safety, and efficacy data that are expected by the drug competent authorities. This article describes how YSOPIA Bioscience, supported by the Pharmabiotic Research Institute (PRI), addressed the regulatory challenges during the early development phase of their single-strain LBP, Xla1, in order to obtain the necessary authorizations to bring this drug to the clinical stage.

Live biotherapeutic products: the importance of a defined regulatory framework

Cordaillat-Simmons, M., Rouanet, A. & Pot, B.

Exp Mol Med 52, 1397–1406 (2020). |

Probiotics have been defined as “Live microorganisms that when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host”. This definition covers a wide range of applications, target populations and (combinations of) microorganisms. Improved knowledge on the importance of the microbiota in terms of health and disease has further diversified the potential scope of a probiotic intervention, whether intended to reach the market as a food, a food supplement or a drug, depending on the intended use. However, the increased interest in the clinical application of probiotics may require specific attention given their administration in a diseased population. In addition to safety, the impact of the type of product, in terms of quality, production method and, e.g., the acceptance of side effects, is now part of the current regulatory constraints for developers. In the European Union, foods are regulated by the European Food Safety Authority and drugs by the European Medicines Agency; in the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) deals with both categories. More recently, the FDA has defined a new “live biotherapeutic products” (LBP) category, clarifying pharmaceutical expectations. Since 2019, the quality requirements for this category of drug products have also been clarified by the European Pharmacopoeia (Ph. Eur.). Similar to all products intended to prevent or treat diseases, LBPs will have to be registered as medicinal products to reach the market in the US and in Europe. In this area, regulatory authorities and the pharmaceutical industry will routinely use guidelines of the “International Council for Harmonization of Technical Requirements for Pharmaceuticals for Human Use” (ICH). Although ICH guidelines are not legally binding, they provide very important recommendations, recognized by almost all drug authorities in the world. In this review, we discuss some aspects of this regulatory framework, especially focusing on products with an intended use in a diseased or vulnerable target population.

Live Biotherapeutic Products, A Road Map for Safety Assessment

Rouanet A, Bolca S, Bru A, Claes I, Cvejic H, Girgis H, Harper A, Lavergne SN, Mathys S, Pane M, Pot B, Shortt C, Alkema W, Bezulowsky C, Blanquet-Diot S, Chassard C, Claus SP, Hadida B, Hemmingsen C, Jeune C, Lindman B, Midzi G, Mogna L, Movitz C, Nasir N, Oberreither M, Seegers JFML, Sterkman L, Valo A, Vieville F and Cordaillat-Simmons M (2020).

Front. Med. 7:237. doi: 10.3389/fmed.2020.00237 |

Recent developments in the understanding of the relationship between the microbiota and its host have provided evidence regarding the therapeutic potential of selected microorganisms to prevent or treat disease. According to Directive 2001/83/EC, in the European Union (EU), any product intended to prevent or treat disease is defined as a medicinal product and requires a marketing authorization by competent authorities prior to commercialization. Even if the pharmaceutical regulatory framework is harmonized at the EU level, obtaining marketing authorisations for medicinal products remains very challenging for Live Biotherapeutic Products (LBPs). Compared to other medicinal products currently on the market, safety assessment of LBPs represents a real challenge because of their specific characteristics and mode of action. Indeed, LBPs are not intended to reach the systemic circulation targeting distant organs, tissues, or receptors, but rather exert their effect through direct interactions with the complex native microbiota and/or the modulation of complex host-microbiota relation, indirectly leading to distant biological effects within the host. Hence, developers must rely on a thorough risk analysis, and pharmaceutical guidelines for other biological products should be taken into account in order to design relevant non-clinical and clinical development programmes. Here we aim at providing a roadmap for a risk analysis that takes into account the specificities of LBPs. We describe the different risks associated with these products and their interactions with the patient. Then, from that risk assessment, we propose solutions to design non-clinical programmes and First in Human (FIH) early clinical trials appropriate to assess LBP safety.