A short 18 months after its launch as a new company, Microbiotica Ltd has entered into a multi-year collaboration with Genentech, a member of the Roche group, to discover, develop and commercialise biomarkers, targets and medicines for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Microbiotica was spun out of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in 2016 to research the human microbiome, a term used to describe the genomes of microorganisms in the gut, including at least 1,000 species of bacteria. These microorganisms help the body digest certain foods, produce vitamins and maintain the functioning of the immune system – a primary source of information about human health and disease.
Microbiotica has access to a collection of intestinal bacteria collected and analysed by scientists at the Sanger Institute who have used DNA sequencing and novel culturing methods to construct a gut microbiome culture collection and reference genome library, reportedly one of the largest collections of its kind in the world. Data from the company’s research is now being analysed using artificial intelligence.
Under the collaboration, Microbiotica will use its platform to analyse patient samples from clinical trials of Genentech’s investigational IBD medicines. The goal is to identify microbiome biomarker signatures of drug response, novel IBD drug targets and live bacterial therapeutic products.
Microbiotica will receive an undisclosed upfront payment and is eligible to receive research, development and commercialisation success-based payments of up to $534 million. Genentech also has an option to license assets that Microbiotica develops as a result of the collaboration.
Microbiotica announced the collaboration on 6 June 2018.
Copyright 2018 Evernow Publishing Ltd.