Collaboration with Finch Therapeutics: What researchers should know

OpenBiome has partnered with Finch Therapeutics, a mission-driven biotech aiming to develop microbial therapies for patients with serious and unmet medical needs. Finch serves as OpenBiome’s contract manufacturer for FMT study material, and can also provide resource and technical support to research partners where collaboration is of mutual interest. Where Finch is not a collaborator, it will not be privy to any non-public information about OpenBiome research.  Because the two organizations share some overlapping leadership, we have used several mechanisms to ensure that our research partners have full control over their engagement with Finch:

OpenBiome Scientific Review Board (SRB) includes the following members: Robert Rosenbaum, MPA (chair); Majdi Osman, MD, MPH; Shrish Budree, MD; Mark Smith, PhD; and Zain Kassam, MD, MPH. No member of the SRB (nor any other member of the OpenBiome team) will be permitted to share study-specific information – including trial design, clinical outcomes, and any other non-public information – beyond OpenBiome without prior written consent from the collaborator. As Dr. Kassam and Dr. Smith both have affiliations with Finch (see below for more details), a collaborator may request the recusal of Dr. Smith, Dr. Kassam, or both. Please note that in such instances, the SRB will lose the expertise that Drs. Smith and Kassam provide.

Dr. Mark Smith, PhD, OpenBiome’s co-founder and research director, will be stepping down from his roles at OpenBiome to serve as the CEO at Finch on March 1, 2017. He will maintain a seat on the OpenBiome Board of Directors and serve as an advisor to OpenBiome’s Scientific Review Board. Dr. Zain Kassam, MD MPH, OpenBiome’s Chief Medical Officer and a member of the Scientific Review Board, will serve as a Research Consultant at Finch.

Study Data, including, but not limited to, trial documents, clinical data, microbiome data and study specimens, will have strict firewalls protecting their access. Finch will only have access to view and use these data if there is a written contract in place between Finch and the research partner. The terms of use will be laid out clearly in the contract between OpenBiome and the research partner. As the contract manufacturer for FMT material, Finch will be involved in the response to any reported adverse events.

FMT Material that is produced after March 1, 2017 will be manufactured by Finch, in accordance with the manufacturing protocols that OpenBiome is licensing to Finch. Finch will serve as a contract manufacturer for OpenBiome, and will sell material for clinical use (under enforcement discretion) and research studies at the cost of goods produced.