Microba Life Sciences and Ginkgo Bioworks Announce Partnership to Discover Novel Live Biotherapeutics
Microba Life Sciences (ASX:MAP), a precision microbiome science company, and Ginkgo Bioworks (NYSE: DNA), the leading horizontal platform for cell programming, today announced a partnership to identify single-strain, live bacteria product (LBP) candidates against autoimmune diseases. The collaboration aims to build on Microba’s precision approach to LBP development with an in-depth evaluation of the company’s strains using Ginkgo’s high throughput, automated screening capabilities.
The human gut microbiome is composed of trillions of bacteria that have an outsized influence on human health and disease. In recent years, scientists have developed a deeper understanding of the relationship between specific bacteria residing in the gut and various health outcomes, leading to a growing interest in using bacteria for therapeutic applications. As clinical trials using live biotherapeutics – biological products that contain live microorganisms applicable to the prevention, treatment, or cure of a disease – have delivered promising results, there is growing consensus that live biotherapeutics may represent a major class of therapeutics in the coming years.
“We believe the human microbiome currently represents a missing piece in the treatment of major chronic diseases, and as a result a number of microbiome-based therapeutics are progressing through clinical development globally” said Luke Reid, CEO at Microba. “Ginkgo’s high throughput screening automation combined with our novel data-driven approach to therapeutic discovery from the microbiome can potentially accelerate development of breakthrough new drugs for autoimmune diseases.”
Through this partnership, Ginkgo will provide high-throughput screening for Microba’s proprietary library of human microbiome-isolated strains, with the goal of improving treatment for autoimmune diseases such as lupus, psoriatic arthritis and certain autoimmune liver diseases. Microba plans to leverage Ginkgo’s high-throughput anaerobic culturing, multi-omics data collection and analysis, functional bioassay screening, and media and fermentation optimization capabilities to generate data sets that may help characterize potential therapeutic and non-therapeutic uses of the strains. The initial partnership combining Microba’s biobank and Ginkgo’s anaerobic development capabilities is expected to run approximately two years.
“Microba is doing truly innovative work during an exciting time for the field of microbiome science,” said Jennifer Wipf, Senior Vice President, Commercial Cell Engineering of Ginkgo. “We’re happy to welcome new partners like Microba as we apply our platform to more applications in the living therapeutics and microbiome space.”
Microba Life Sciences plans to launch its Initial Public Offering (IPO) on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) on April 5. In connection with the partnership, Ginkgo is investing $3.5 million USD in Microba. The IPO was fully underwritten by Canaccord Genuity and Bell Potter.
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