Swiss health-science firm Nestlé Health Science has collaborated with French diagnostics and pharmaceuticals developer Enterome to create a 50/50 joint venture (JV), Microbiome Diagnostics Partners (MDP).
Set to combine the firms’ platforms and capabilities, the JV will focus on discovery, development and commercialisation of new microbiome-based diagnostics for several diseases such as inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) and liver disorders.
Enterome intends to supply existing diagnostic programmes from its microbiome platform to develop diagnostics for all therapeutic areas except immuno-oncology, while Nestlé’s Prometheus Laboratories division will contribute through its expertise in development and commercialisation of diagnostics.
In addition to an initial investment of €20m, Nestlé Health Science will provide further milestone payments depending on the clinical and commercial activities of MDP, and will hold exclusive commercialisation options for the initial programmes.
Nestlé Health Science CEO Greg Behar said: "MDP is equipped to lead diagnostic discovery in the microbiome field, opening the door to innovative therapeutic approaches combining diagnostics, nutritional therapies and therapeutics.”
The new company will develop IBD diagnostics based on Enterome's microbiome-derived biomarker called IBD110 that has mucosal healing properties, while the development of diagnostics for progressive liver diseases such as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) will be based on the firm’s MET210 biomarker.
Enterome CEO Pierre Belichard said: “The MDP JV 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."
Prometheus plans to deliver serum-based biomarkers for both the initial development programmes.