Review: 'Through the Shadowlands’ describes Julie Rehmeyer's ME/CFS Odyssey
I should note at the outset that this review is based on an audio version of the galleys and the epilogue from the finished work. Julie Rehmeyer sent me the final version as a PDF, but for some reason my text to voice software (Kurzweil) had issues with it. I understand that it is...
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The Human Microbiome Gets A Big Pharma Investment

Discussion in 'Other Health News and Research' started by Waverunner, Jun 19, 2013.

  1. Waverunner

    Waverunner Senior Member

    It's about time. The microbiome should offer a whole new load of treatments for all kind of diseases.
    There’s a moment for any new biotechnology that’s critically important: when it moves from being an area of academic interest to one that companies are founded upon. And then there is a next step: when the Big Pharma money arrives for the first time.
    That just happened for the emerging field of the human microbiome, the study of the 100 trillion bacteria that live in our bodies – that’s ten germs for every human cell. This mix of good and bad bacteria have been linked to everything from infectious diseases like clostridium difficile to obesity and even mental health.
    This morning, Johnson & Johnson JNJ -0.96% is announcing that a collaboration with Second Genome, one of the first biotech companies focused entirely on the human microbiome. (The idea is that the bacteria, viruses and fungi that share your body have a “second genome” that’s potentially important to your health.) Together, the two companies will look for targets for drugs that work by modifying what bacteria live in the intestine with the goal of coming up with new treatments for ulcerative colitis, a disease in which open sores form in the intestine. Remicade, a blockbuster J&J drug, is one of the current treatments.
    “This is an area of great importance for our R&D strategy for immunology because we believe it can bring in the mid-term and long-term value toward our goal of addressing unmet medical need,” says Miguel Barbosa, vice president of immunology research and partnership strategies at J&J.
    Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. J&J is also setting up a new innovation center in Menlo Park, Calif., with the goal of creating new connections to the biotechnology industry there. The Second Genome collaboration will be one of the first tied to this new center.
    Second Genome was founded in 2010 by a group that included Corey Goodman, the former president of Pfizer PFE -0.14%‘s innovation center and the co-founder of biotechs Exelixis EXEL -1.04% and Renovis. The company uses DNA sequencing technology to analyze what organisms are present in a human stool sample, and then uses proprietary computer software and laboratory techniques to figure out why those microbes change biology and how they might be affected with drugs. Goodman is still chairman.
    Peter DiLaura, Second Genome’s chief executive, notes that the best evidence of the microbiome’s medical usefulness still isn’t good enough for a drug company. Fecal transplants – literally transplants of one person’s stool into another – have shown a benefit in treating infections with c. difficile, an infection that occurs when ‘good’ bacteria in the colon have been killed off with antibiotics. But he notes that nobody fully understands exactly what happens to make the transplant work. That’s the challenge if anyone wants to develop new drugs.
    Little Bluestem and Bob like this.

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