Microbiome – A New Class of Therapy

31 Oct

By Max Klietmann, VP of Marketing, LSN

There has been a lot of buzz in the translational research arena as of late on the subject of microbiome technology. This field is still emerging, but much of the data coming out of academic research shows that this could be one of the most disruptive developments in the life science space in recent time. The concept changes the way that we look at the human body – not as a single entity, but as a community of bacteria that reside in (for example) the bowels. With cheap genomic testing, it could soon become feasible to create custom diagnostics and therapies relevant to the specific bacterial populations within a patient.

This technology is being referred to as metagenomics – essentially, the mapping of a bacterial community’s collective genome within a single patient’s microbiome. The most obvious consequence of the commercialization of this technology is the massive expansion of potential target sites for therapeutics. I’ve anecdotally heard estimates that this could potentially double the potential therapeutic angles available for pharmaceutical compounds.

The implications are huge for many major disease areas. Of course there is immediate relevance to IBD and digestive ailments, but there is also the potential for hyper-targeted antibiotics which could redefine the treatment of infectious diseases, and in turn help to reduce the risk of MRSA and other antibiotic-resistant disease outbreaks. Type II diabetes and cancers are also indication areas that could benefit greatly from this new field.

This research is still in its early stages, and no one really knows exactly what is going to emerge. Is this be another fad, or could it be the next monoclonal antibody and revolutionize our industry? The fallout is yet to come, but there is no question that a lot of potential investors, pharma, and translational researchers are excited and interested in seeing what happens next.

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