Ferring and Karolinska Institutet to develop human microbiome translational research programme

Collaboration aims to understand better the contribution of the human microbiome to physiology and pathophysiology

Ferring Pharmaceuticals and Karolinska Institutet have signed an agreement to establish a research centre 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 in which Ferring has extensive expertise. Karolinska Institutet has a deep understanding of the human microbiome. Some of the research will be done at the Science for Life Laboratory (SciLifeLab), which provides access to a broad technical platform to study complex microbiological communities in well-defined human material.

The collaboration forms a solid foundation to better understand the contribution of the human microbiome to physiology and pathophysiology, and provides opportunities to develop novel therapies. Professor Lars Engstrand, Karolinska Institutet, will serve as director and lead the research. The centre will further establish an internationally competitive infrastructure and focus on translational research to elucidate the role of the human microbiome in health and disease.

‘There is no question that information derived from this field will lead to innovation in life sciences through improvements in diagnosis, prevention and therapy,’ said Per Falk, Executive Vice President and Chief Scientific at Ferring. ‘This collaboration with Karolinska Institutet and SciLifeLab will help us 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 centre 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 now have a great opportunity to sort out the hope from the hype in this exciting research field.’

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