SAINT-PREX, Switzerland--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Ferring Pharmaceuticals and Karolinska Institutet announce today that a collaboration agreement has been signed for the establishment of a research center exploiting the human microbiome. The programme will be fully funded by Ferring Pharmaceuticals and governed by a joint steering committee.
The proposed project focuses on therapeutic areas where Ferring has extensive expertise. Karolinska Institutet has a deep understanding of the human microbiome. Parts of the research will be carried out at the Science for Life Laboratory (SciLifeLab) that provides access to a broad technical platform for studying complex microbiological communities in well-defined human material.
The collaboration between the two partners form a solid foundation for the ambition of a better understanding of the contribution of the human microbiome to physiology and pathophysiology and opens opportunities for development of novel therapies. The research will be led by Professor Lars Engstrand, Karolinska Institutet, who will serve as director. The center will further establish an internationally competitive infrastructure with focus on translational research in the microbiome field set up to develop a comprehensive mapping of the human microbiome in health and disease.
"There is no question that the information coming from this field will lead to innovation in life sciences through improvements in diagnosis, prevention and therapy", said Per Falk, MD, PhD, Executive Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer at Ferring. "This collaboration with Karolinska Institutet involving SciLifeLab will help to understand the role of the microflora in our key therapy areas and develop innovative treatments to better serve the needs of our patients."
Anders Hamsten, president of Karolinska Institutet said: "This is yet another example of a strong collaborative research effort that Karolinska Institutet has set up with the pharmaceutical industry. The exploration of the human microbiome promises to provide new insights into its role in human physiology and pathology."
"The strength of the center lies in its well-established network between scientists representing different competencies", said Lars Engstrand, Professor at the Department of Microbiology, Tumor and Cell biology and Director of Clinical Genomics at SciLifeLab. "By acting together, contributing resources and skills, we will now get a great opportunity to sort out the hope from the hype in this exciting research field".
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The microbiota can be considered a "new organ" which actually constitutes 2 kg of our body and an estimated 80 % of its components has not yet been cultivated. Biomarkers and novel drug candidates could potentially be found in the highly metabolically active bacteria. An example is the antibacterial molecule Lactocillin produced by Lactobacillus gasseri (a vaginal bacteria). The tools used to study the microbiota have benefitted greatly from the major advances in high throughput analysis of molecules at the DNA, RNA, protein and metabolite levels, usually collected under the terminology "omics-platforms".
About Ferring Pharmaceuticals:
Headquartered in Switzerland, Ferring Pharmaceuticals is a research-driven, specialty biopharmaceutical group active in global markets. The company identifies, develops and markets innovative products in the areas of reproductive health, urology, gastroenterology, endocrinology and orthopaedics. Ferring has its own operating subsidiaries in nearly 60 countries and markets its products in 110 countries. To learn more about Ferring or its products please visit www.ferring.com
About Karolinska Institutet:
Karolinska Institutet is one of the world's leading medical universities. It accounts for over 40 per cent of the medical academic research conducted in Sweden and offers the country's broadest range of education in medicine and health sciences. Since 1901 the Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet has selected the Nobel laureates in Physiology or Medicine. For more information please visit: www.ki.se
SciLifeLab is a Swedish national center for molecular biosciences, with the mission to develop, use and provide advanced technologies for applications in health and environmental research. SciLifeLab is hosted by four universities; Karolinska Institutet, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm University and Uppsala University. For more information please visit:www.scilifelab.se