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Microbiotica, Genentech Ink IBD Alliance

This article has been updated to include additional details about the terms of the alliance.

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) — Wellcome Sanger Institute spinout Microbiotica announced today that it has partnered with Genentech to develop biomarkers, targets, and medicines for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

Under the terms of the deal, Microbiotica will use its metagenomics microbiome platform — which comprises a microbiome culture collection and linked reference genome database — to analyze patient samples from clinical trials of Genentech's investigational IBD drugs to identify microbiome biomarker signatures of drug response, novel IBD drug targets, and live bacterial therapeutic products.

According to a Microbiotica spokesperson, Genentech will own any drug response biomarkers and drug targets resulting from the alliance. Microbiotica will develop the live bacterial therapeutics, which Genentech will have the option to commercialize.

In exchange, Microbiotica will receive an undisclosed upfront payment and stands to receive up to $534 million in research, development, and commercialization milestones. Microbiotica is also eligible to receive royalties on the sale of certain products resulting from the alliance, and be able to use the Genentech samples to expand its culture collection and reference genome database.

Additional terms were not disclosed.

"We believe the microbiome represents a new paradigm in biomedicine, both for understanding drug response and as a novel therapeutic modality," James Sabry, senior vice president and global head of partnering at Genentech, said in a statement.