Nestle Health Science enters microbiome research venture

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13 Jul 2017 --- Nestlé Health Science and Enterome are establishing Microbiome Diagnostics Partners (MDP), in an attempt to lead the development and commercialization of innovative microbiome-based diagnostics with the potential to transform therapeutic approaches across health conditions such as inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) and liver diseases. The partnership follows Nestlé Health Science’s initial investment announced in April 2016.

“Mastering the microbiome is an important facet of our strategy to advance the therapeutic role of nutrition. We also see new opportunities for personalized nutrition both for the healthy population and for patients. The two initial programs have great potential to become differentiated diagnostics,” says Greg Behar, CEO of Nestlé Health Science.

According to the companies, MDP will initially aim to boost Enterome’s diagnostic programs, which include IBD 110 for the assessment and management of mucosal healing and MET210 for NASH (non-alcoholic steatohepatitis). The current standard of care for these conditions include invasive procedures such as endoscopy and biopsies, rather than a non-invasive stool/serum combined Dx tests that will be developed by MDP. Future innovation efforts will leverage advanced microbial and serum-based metabolic technologies developed respectively at Enterome and Nestlé Health Science’s diagnostics arm Prometheus Laboratories.

The companies announced that Microbiome Diagnostics Partners is to be a 50:50 joint venture between Enterome and Nestlé Health Science. Prometheus (a Nestlé Health Science Company) will contribute its Diagnostics (Dx) development and commercialization expertise. Enterome will contribute its current microbiome diagnostic programs and intellectual property (IP) derived from its unique microbiome-based platform for the development of Dx in all therapeutic areas except immuno-oncology. 

Nestlé Health Science will reportedly invest €20 million in return for its 50 percent stake in MDP and exclusive commercialization options on the initial programs. In addition to this investment, MDP will receive further milestone payments linked to the success of clinical and commercial activities.

Commenting on the move, Behar says, “Microbiome Diagnostics Partners is equipped to lead diagnostic discovery in the microbiome field, opening the door to innovative therapeutic approaches combining diagnostics (Dx), nutritional therapies (Nx) and therapeutics (Rx).” 

“The formation of Microbiome Diagnostics Partners is an important milestone for Enterome, as it brings together powerful and complementary technologies and capabilities to enable the creation of a new generation of diagnostic and companion diagnostic products. The MDP joint venture will leverage Enterome’s microbiome-based platforms in diagnostic areas, while Enterome will continue to focus on their application for the discovery of novel small molecule therapeutics,” comments Pierre Belichard, CEO of Enterome.

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