June 5, 2013


The Human Microbiome Gets A Big Pharma Investment

There’s a moment for any new biotechnology that’s critically important: when it moves from being an area of academic interest to one that companies are founded upon. And then there is a next step: when the Big Pharma money arrives for the first time.

That just happened for the emerging field of the human microbiome, the study of the 100 trillion bacteria that live in our bodies – that’s ten germs for every human cell. This mix of good and bad bacteria have been linked to everything from infectious diseases like clostridium difficile to obesity and even mental health.

This morning, Johnson & Johnson is announcing that a collaboration with Second Genome, one of the first biotech companies focused entirely on the human microbiome. (The idea is that the bacteria, viruses and fungi that share your body have a “second genome” that’s potentially important to your health.) Together, the two companies will look for targets for drugs that work by modifying what bacteria live in the intestine with the goal of coming up with new treatments for ulcerative colitis, a disease in which open sores form in the intestine. Remicade, a blockbuster J&J drug, is one of the current treatments.

Full article is available at: http://www.forbes.com/sites/matthewherper/2013/06/05/jj-pairs-up-with-a-human-microbiome-focused-biotech/

By Matthew Harper