MetaboGen AB and Ferring Pharmaceuticals announce a research collaboration aimed at developing a microbiome-based product to prevent and treat Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy (ICP). In December recruitment of patients for the first clinical trial begins. BioGaia holds 36 percent of the research company MetaboGen.

MetaboGen has developed and patented a concept for how the microbiome (the overall expression of microbial genes) could affect intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy, a disorder affecting around 400,000 pregnant women annually.

Recruitment of patients for the first clinical study begun 6 December 2016. The 18-month long study is conducted in cooperation with the Women’s Clinic in Lund, Sweden. 100 pregnant women will be included in the trial.

BioGaia's interest in MetaboGen unchanged

In December 2014 BioGaia took the decision to invest SEK 12 million in MetaboGen AB, and BioGaia's Group President Peter Rothschild became Chairman of the Board of the company. The investment was to be made over a two-year period and the last of three investments was done 30 November 2016. BioGaia's share of MetaboGen today amounts to 36 percent and BioGaia has no current plans of changing this.

"BioGaia's investment in MetaboGen is long term and aims at developing the next generation of probiotic products, based on in-depth analyses of the microbiome. The research field is expanding rapidly and several large pharmaceutical companies have invested in microbiome companies. We are very positive about MetaboGen’s collaboration with Ferring, which is an ideal partner for this type of product. It is also satisfying that MetaboGen already is underway with a clinical trial”, says Peter Rothschild, Group President BioGaia.

What is Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy (ICP)?
Intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy (ICP) is a disorder that can develop in pregnancy. ICP affects about 400,000 pregnant women annually and is a recurrent disease: 70 per cent of women who have been diagnosed with ICP during their first pregnancy will be affected again in following pregnancies. In addition to itching, which may be intense and very uncomfortable for the mother, there are links between ICP and preterm birth and gestational diabetes.

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 more than 100 countries.

About MetaboGen AB
MetaboGen is a research-driven company with a focus on the microbiome and its impact on health. The company was founded in Gothenburg, Sweden and is based on break-through science from the labs of Professor Fredrik Bäckhed (University of Gothenburg) and Professor Jens B Nielsen (Chalmers University of Technology). Since 2011, MetaboGen develops products based on advanced mapping of the intestinal microflora composition. In 2014 BioGaia AB invested in the company. MetaboGen’s technology, along with more than 25 years of experience in the development of probiotics from BioGaia, provides the company with a unique opportunity to develop the next generation of microbial products. 

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