Cambridge-based Microbiotica is a leading microbiome therapeutics development company founded and spun out from the Wellcome Sanger Institute. Microbiotica was formed only 18 months ago, their first funding was awarded by Cambridge Innovation Capital and IP Group for commercialisation of microbiome science from the Wellcome Trust Sanger institute, more particularly from the lab of Dr Lawley, who is now CSO of Microbiotica. Genentech and Microbiotica have entered into a huge $534 million deal to discover new irritable bowel disease drugs. This deal is hugely significant as it is the first big deal done between any companies to investigate microbiome products and therapeutics on such a large scale. Other deals include $101 million Kaleido deal, and €7 million Nextbiotix investment from venture capital investment. This shows how the field is gaining both momentum and investment.




Genentech and Microbiotica are world-class, Genentech already has a pipeline of irritable bowel disease medications to trial, and Microbiotica have the world-class pipeline of microbiome data and resources to test Genentech’s new medicines. Through this deal Genentech will gain access to Microbiotica’s technology platform. This includes access to Microbiotica’s microbiome culture collection and its extensive collection of genome data on gut bacteria. Genentech hope to test new bacterial therapeutics from inflammatory bowel disease clinical trials. 


They could be the first scientists to bring metagenomics to the clinical stage for the first time. This would benefit patients with bowel diseases enormously. This deal could also lead to future work on the microbiome, which is thought to implicate cancer development, autoimmune disorders and metabolic disorders. This just shows some of the other applications and future opportunities for research and product development.




It was not until recently that the potential of the human microbiome in disease and health was recognised. The microbiome contains trillions of microorganisms, a slight imbalance can lead to a range of inflammatory bowel diseases. It is unsurprising that this is Genentech’s first venture into the human gut microbiome. The project will focus on ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease and use Microbiotica’s vast sequencing pipeline to develop new inflammatory bowel disease drugs. The $534 million deal is formed of milestone and upfront payments to Microbiotica. Genentech will be allowed to licence assets developed from this research-based collaboration, Microbiotica as a result will receive royalties from any products generated. Alongside the $969 million in payments from Genentech with Lodo therapeutics, who look for drugs from soil, this is a promising time for investigating microbiome and bacterial-based therapies. This also highlights the significance of this emerging field of microbiome-based therapeutics and products.



Read more about opportunities on Microbiome products in the GioBio report here