Microbiotica has entered into a multi-year strategic collaboration with Genentech, a Roche company, to discover, develop, and commercialise biomarkers, targets, and medicines for inflammatory bowel disease. 

Microbiotica was spun out of the Wellcome Sanger Institute 18 months ago, and focuses on microbiome-based therapeutics. Under the terms of the agreement, Microbiotica will utilise its precision metagenomics microbiome platform to analyse patient samples from clinical trials of Genentech’s investigational IBD medicines. The goal is to identify microbiome marker signatures of drug response, novel IBD drug targets and live bacterial therapeutic products. 

“We are excited by the opportunity to work with Genentech scientists in order to bring precision metagenomics into the clinical arena for the first time, enabling us to develop biomarkers and medicines for the benefit of patients,” said Microbiotica CEO, Dr. Mike Romanos. 

Microbiotica will receive an undisclosed upfront payment and is eligible to receive research, development and commercialisation milestones payments up to $534 million, based on achievement of certain predetermined milestones. 

“We believe the microbiome represents a new paradigm in biomedicine, both for understanding drug response and as a novel therapeutic modality,” said Senior Vice President and Global Head of Genentech Partnering, Dr. James Sabry, MD. 


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In addition, Microbiota is eligible to receive royalties on sales and certain products resulting from the collaboration. 

Genetech also has an option to license assets that Microbiotica develops as a result of the research collaboration. 

The Microbiotica platform comprises the world’s leading microbiome Culture Collection and linked Reference Genome Database that enables unprecedented precision of gut bacterial identification at clinical trial scale. 

The company is adding to this at a very rapid rate through its industrial culturing and sequencing pipeline, providing the best available representation of clinical trial samples for strain-level identification of bacteria. The complex datasets that arise from such studies are analysed through using AI technologies to discern microbiome signatures linked to phenotype. The availability of the physical Culture Collection enables biological evaluation of bacteria in proprietary translational models including humanised microbiome mouse models. 

“Whilst Genentech will retain rights to proprietary biomarkers, targets and medicines, the collaboration will enable Microbiotica to continue to rapidly expand its already leading Reference Genome Database and Culture Collection, further strengthening its value across all therapeutic areas,” added Dr. Romanos.