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Mayo, Whole Biome Collaborate on Microbiome Diagnostics

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – The Mayo Clinic Center for Individualized Medicine and Whole Biome announced on Tuesday a collaboration to develop microbiome-targeted diagnostics.

The initial focus will be on women's health, and in particular preterm labor, the most common cause of infant death and a leading cause of long-term disability in children, the partners said.

San Francisco-based Whole Biome uses sample prep techniques and "specialized analytics" that integrate high-throughput and long read-length DNA sequencing data to generate microbiome profiles that provide insight into relevant changes. The partners said that unbalanced vaginal microbiomes have been associated in medical issues, including yeast infections, bacterial vaginosis, and preterm labor, and they plan to develop a test to enable the early indication of preterm labor.

Whole Biome's Complete Biome Test, they added, generates microbiome profiles with strain-level resolution, providing researchers and clinicians a tool to conduct large-scale studies and produce microbiome diagnostics for predicting, treating, and preventing life-threatening issues.

Financial and other terms of the deal were not disclosed.

"Understanding the microbiome, and translating that understanding into enhanced patient care is a major goal within the Center for Individualized Medicine," Heidi Nelson, director of the center's microbiome program, said in a statement. "Our early work suggests the microbiome may play a significant role in triggering preterm labor, and we are excited to take these early results into clinical trials with Whole Biome's analytics platform."