J&J Expands Microbiome R&D With New Collaborations

Janssen Research & Development announced several new collaborations through its Janssen Human Microbiome Institute (JHMI) focused on advancing the discovery, development and commercialization of next-generation microbial products. The JHMI, together with the Janssen Disease Interception Accelerator (DIA), has initiated a collaboration with DayTwo Ltd. and the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel, to pursue microbiome-based health solutions targeting metabolic disorders. In addition, with the scientific support of the JHMI and Bioqube Ventures, Caelus Health (Caelus) has become a portfolio company of Johnson & Johnson Innovation - JJDC, Inc. (JJDC) and one of the first companies to join the JLINX community in Beerse, Belgium, which nurtures early-stage companies by providing access to resources to grow and network across the European life science ecosystem. The agreements were facilitated by Johnson & Johnson Innovation.

"These collaborations and investments will create critical new insights to address metabolic disorders through microbiome-based diagnostics and therapeutics," said Dirk Gevers, PhD, Global Head, Janssen Human Microbiome Institute. "By partnering with entrepreneurs, biotechs and academics and bringing innovative opportunities together with our expertise, we look to move microbiome science forward and deliver future solutions that promote individual health."

Janssen will work together with DayTwo and Weizmann Institute of Science researchers on their first-in-class microbiome-based platform providing users with nutritional recommendations to control glucose response, with the purpose of evaluating these solutions for the effective interception of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM), type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and metabolic syndrome-associated disorders. Further, the JHMI is engaged in a separate research collaboration with the Weizmann Institute of Science, wherein human microbiome datasets will be mined for the identification and validation of microbiome-based pharmaceutical therapies through the Weizmann Institute of Science's robust research and analytics expertise. These efforts are based on the synergistic collaboration of Prof. Eran Segal of the Computer Science and Applied Mathematics Department, and Dr. Eran Elinav of the Immunology Department, both from the Weizmann Institute of Science.

Caelus is advancing the clinical development of pharmaceutical products based on in-human insights for the treatment of obesity-associated T2DM and cardio-metabolic complications. As a JLINX company, Caelus received an equity investment by JJDC and will have access to capabilities at JLINX. In addition, the JHMI will dedicate computational resources to Caelus to examine large, unique in-human data sets to inform the identification of future microbiome-based interventions. Dirk Gevers will join the Scientific Advisory Board of Caelus.

"We are excited about the collaborations with DayTwo and the Weizmann Institute of Science, and the JJDC investment in Caelus as they bring us one step closer to harnessing the potential of microbiome science," said Anuk Das, Head of Scientific Innovation, Janssen Human Microbiome Institute. "DayTwo's advanced prediction engine algorithm, the Weizmann Institute of Science's robust research capabilities and Caelus's portfolio of microbiota-based products provide unique opportunities to learn more about the role that the microbiome plays in disease and health."

DayTwo, the Weizmann Institute of Science and Caelus join the Center for Microbiome Innovation at University of California San Diego and the lab of Jeremiah Faith, PhD, Assistant Professor of Genetics and Genomics Science and Clinical Immunology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in the JHMI's growing network of collaborators.