Holobiome announces research collaboration with Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc. to develop next-generation probiotics and prebiotics, aimed at supporting infant and maternal immune health.
The collaboration is the latest in a string of collaboration deals between the two companies, and marks Holobiome’s first foray into the arena of the early-life microbiome.
Holobiome is a biotechnology company harnessing the potential of the human gut microbiome to generate technology and products that can improve health through multiple marketplaces. The Holobiome platform is powered by its Microbiome Vault, a strain collection representing nearly all known members of the gut microbiome, proprietary tools to understand which functions gut bacteria perform that may impact health, and world leaders in microbiome research.
“Our microbial passengers influence every aspect of our biology, including the development of our immune and nervous systems,” said Dr. Phil Strandwitz, CEO of Holobiome. “That makes the first few months an absolutely critical window for ensuring lifelong health.”
Recent research has shown bacterial influences on human biology begin even before birth. Although the womb is considered sterile, an expecting mother’s gut bacteria influence her immune response, nutritional status, and other factors that can impact the child’s development and risk of disease later in life.
Shortly after birth, many of the same symbiotic bacteria that shape a mother’s health take root in the GI tract of her child, protecting against pathogens and helping them digest complex sugars such as the ones found in milk.
The research collaboration with Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc. will leverage Holobiome’s platform to identify, isolate, and develop next-generation probiotic bacteria and the prebiotics that help them flourish.
The platform starts with microbiome samples sourced from Holobiome’s network of more than 9,000 healthy human donors around the world.
Leveraging decades of experience in cultivating microbes, these samples are mined to create Holobiome’s Microbiome Vault: a continuously growing strain collection which aims to be a comprehensive library of all human bacteria.
Holobiome then deeply profiles these bacteria and turns them into screenable material, which is used in bioassays to map how bacteria impact human biology—in this case, pathways and functions relevant for infant and maternal health. The information this generates enables a “big data” approach to understanding which microbes influence key biology, and, just as importantly, how they do it.
“It’s an end-to-end platform to turn the promise of the microbiome into products for multiple industries,” said Dr. Strandwitz. “We’re thrilled to be working with the team at Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc.; we align strongly in the belief that the future will be powered by solutions that target the microbiome, and there’s no better partner to help translate discoveries like the ones happening here into products that can help people worldwide.”