Nature Biotechnology Publication: Translating microbiome futures

James Vitale
Friday, November 9th, 2018
Figure 1: Over the past five years, the scientific output in the microbiome
field and the number of microbiome-related published patents has been
steadily rising. Sources: PubMed (search terms "human microbiome" and
"human microbiota"); Fankhauser et al.; University of Chicago Technology
Commercialization; CBInsights; CrunchBase; GlobalData; the companies.
The publication of Translating microbiome futures is the culmination of more than a year's work by Gaspar Taroncher-Oldenberg, Consultant in Residence at Global Engage and Susan Jones, Senior Editor at Nature Biotechnology. Together they spoke with close to 150 key opinion leaders in microbiome R&D, venture capital, and regulatory agencies. Then on May 23, 2018, the Microbiome Futures Summit brought together 150 people involved in determining the future of microbiome R&D, regulation of new therapies, and treatments as well as preclinical, clinical, and manufacturing issues. Those in attendance represented pharmaceutical and biotech companies, academic institutes, venture capital firms, and regulatory agencies. Taconic Biosciences was one of five sponsors of the Summit.

The Translating Microbiome Futures publication provides the key takeaway messages provided by sixteen leaders in the microbiome field. Alexander Maue, PhD, Director of Microbiome Products and Services at Taconic was one of those interviewed. During his interview Dr. Maue was asked, "Given the limitations of current preclinical models, what kinds of advances do you anticipate are needed to facilitate microbiome product development?"

He responded, "One way of addressing some of the present limitations is to use animals with humanized immune systems that have been associated with human microbiota." He went on to say, "An additional strategy would be to perform experiments on offspring of transplanted parental animals that would have co-developed their immune systems with the transplanted microbiome — the diversity of the transplanted microbiome has been shown to be conserved in the F1 generation."

This publication is timely as we enter 2019 and look to gain additional knowledge of how the microbiome is associated with health and disease. During 2019, more therapies will head towards the clinic and still others will seek regulatory approval. The authors have provided a perspective on the challenges that face researchers and regulators over the coming years, as well as some insight on how we may overcome some of those challenges.

Gaspar Taroncher-Oldenburg, Susan Jones, Martin Blaser, Richard Bonneau, Peter Christey, José C Clemente, Eran Elinav, Elodie Ghedin, Curtis Huttenhower, Denise Kelly, David Kyle, Dan Littman, Arpita Maiti, Alexander Maue, Bernat Olle, Leopoldo Segal, Johan E T van Hylckama Vlieg & Jun Wang. Translating microbiome futures. 2018. Nature Biotechnology, Volume 36, Number 11.

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