Janssen Biotech and Second Genome have entered into an agreement to focus on microbiome drug discovery, Second Genome announced in a press release. With the goal of advancing novel drug targets, the agreement is focused on therapeutic mechanisms in ulcerative colitis mediated by the bacterial ecosystem living within the human gut, referred to as the microbiome. Second Genome will apply its microbiome modulation discovery platform to characterize the role of bacterial populations in ulcerative colitis.
The microbiome is an emerging area of interest involving research, such as the National Institute of Health’s Human Microbiome Project, to evaluate the symbiotic relationship that bacteria have developed in the human body. “Foundational microbiome research over the past several years has demonstrated that alterations to the microbiome are central to the development of inflammation and metabolic disorders,” said Peter DiLaura, president and CEO at Second Genome, in the press release. “The role of the microbiome in health and disease has arrived as a significant area of focus in pharmaceutical R&D. This collaboration with Janssen will identify mechanisms by which microbial populations in the gut have an impact in ulcerative colitis.”
Under the terms of the agreement, Second Genome will receive an upfront payment and support for research activities conducted by Second Genome in collaboration with Janssen. In addition, Second Genome is eligible to receive potential payments upon the achievement of certain research milestones. The research will be funded through the Johnson & Johnson Innovation Center and the Immunology Therapeutic Area within Janssen Research & Development.
In May, 2013, Janssen Biotech received FDA approval for its SIMPONI (golimumab) subcutaneously administered anti-tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha therapy for moderately to severely active ulcerative colitis in adult patients who have demonstrated corticosteroid dependence or who have had an inadequate response to or failed to tolerate oral treatments. Ulcerative colitis has had limited treatment options.