Date: 2012-10-10

Type of information: R&D agreement

Compound: new immunomodulatory molecules based on the results of intestine studies of the human microbiome (the microbiome is the totality of microbes, their genetic elements and environmental interactions in a particular environment. Adult humans contain, on average, some 100 trillion bacteria in their intestines alone. These bacteria are believed to be central to their host’s well-being while heavily influencing the immune system.)

Company: UCB (Belgium), Harvard University (USA)

Therapeutic area: Immunological diseases

Type agreement:


Action mechanism:

Disease: immunological diseases


UCB has launched a third collaborative research project with Harvard that builds upon the innovative Research Alliance they both signed in 2011. The third research project named ‘Mining the Human Microbiome” will be headed by Christophe Benoist, M.D., Ph.D., Dennis Kasper, M.D., and Diane Mathis, Ph.D., all Professors in the Division of Immunology in the Department of Microbiology and Immunobiology at Harvard Medical School. The team will be studying the human microbiome in the intestine, classifying new species in studying their impact on the immune system in order to identify new drugs for preventing or treating immunological diseases.
The Harvard investigators plan to systematically mine the human microbiome to look for new immunomodulatory molecules in the intestine with potential therapeutic applications. In order to do so, their labs have designed an interdisciplinary project using recent technological advances in next generation sequencing, whole-genome and single molecule transcript profiling and polychromatic flow cytometry.
This is the third collaboration UCB has initiated with Harvard in the last 18 months.

Financial terms:

UCB will provide up to $4.5 million over three years to fund the project.

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Is general: Yes