Microbiome startup Xycrobe, J&J partner on inflammatory skin diseases


Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ) has partnered with a microbiome startup in its JLABS San Diego incubator to develop treatments for inflammatory skin diseases. The company, Xycrobe Therapeutics, has been at the incubator since 2014.

The partners plan to apply Xycrobe’s tech, which includes a library of bacterial strains that have a symbiotic relationship living on human skin. The La Jolla, CA-based company has developed several strains of these commensal skin bacteria that could reduce skin inflammation, including in diseases including acne, psoriasis, dermatitis and eczema.

Interestingly, the deal is with J&J’s Consumer business, rather than its drug development arm Janssen.


Like this story? Subscribe to FierceBiotech!

Biopharma is a fast-growing world where big ideas come along every day. Our subscribers rely on FierceBiotech as their must-read source for the latest news, analysis and data in the world of biotech and pharma R&D. Sign up today to get biotech news and updates delivered to your inbox and read on the go.

"The current paradigm for treating skin conditions, such as acne, completely disregards the importance of the commensal skin flora. Overuse of antibiotics have led to a higher prevalence of resistant strains of bacteria and along with that comes less efficacy for conventional treatments. So, we are attempting to change that paradigm," said Xycrobe founder and CEO Thomas Hitchcock in a statement.

He continued, "We feel that the key to better treatment solutions for skin disease lies in understanding our body's interaction with the skin microbiome, and how we can leverage this information.”

Xycrobe expects to pursue programs related to various skin issues including hair loss and toenail fungus, but its initial focus is on these inflammatory skin diseases.

Johnson & Johnson has been actively pursuing microbiome-based treatments. It has created the Janssen Human Microbiome Institute (JHMI) specifically to pursue such research. It has research centers in Cambridge, MA and Beerse, Belgium.

The pharma has done some deals on the microbiome front including a pair that are both focused on inflammatory bowel disease—one with Cambridge, MA-based Vedanta Biosciences and the other with South San Francisco, CA-based Second Genome.

The Vedanta deal, which dates from last year, was Janssen’s first to in-license a microbiome therapeutic candidate.

- here is the release

Related Articles:
Vedanta bags $50M to advance multiple microbiome programs into the clinic
Vedanta poaches former Genzyme VP, announces new Cambridge expansion
Johnson & Johnson takes rare gamble on microbiome science of biotech startup

Suggested Articles

By employing heart rate signals, physical activity and sleep quality, common Fitbit trackers may be able to predict the spread of the flu.

Nanox has raised $26 million to help fuel the development and commercialization of its Star Trek-inspired digital X-ray bed.

Oncology is clearly a major medical and societal issue, but one that sees too much focus from biopharmas at the expense of other killers.