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Second Genome and Pfizer to Collaborate on Microbiome Research Initiative in Obesity

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 8:47am

Second Genome announced today that it has entered into an agreement with Pfizer to conduct extensive microbiome research in a large observational study aimed at gaining new insights into obesity and metabolic disease. The goal of the study is to evaluate numerous clinical factors and the microbiome in a select cohort of approximately 900 individuals with varying metabolic phenotypes, in order to better understand the inter-relationship between the microbiome, obesity and metabolic disorders.

The select cohort consists of patients and normal subjects recruited by a team led by Paul Huang, M.D., Ph.D., of Massachusetts General Hospital's cardiology division. Called the Cardiology and Metabolic Patient (CAMP) cohort, studies on this group have recently resulted in the finding of a gene conferring resistance to the development of diabetes (Nature Genetics 46, 357-363, 2014).

"We are thrilled to be working together with the scientists at Pfizer on this study," said Peter DiLaura, President and CEO of Second Genome. "Our relationship with Pfizer on a study of this size and magnitude is needed to potentially shift our understanding of this runaway epidemic and find fresh approaches to treating metabolic disease." The worldwide prevalence of obesity and associated metabolic conditions continues to increase rapidly. Emerging evidence suggests that the microbiome is central to metabolic processes.  Changes in the composition of gut microbes appear to be linked to metabolic conditions such as obesity and type 2 diabetes. Recent microbiome transplant studies have demonstrated that the introduction of specific microbes can influence host biology to drive weight loss or gain, suggesting the microbiome may be a therapeutic target for obesity treatments.

"Understanding the complex set of interactions between the gut microbes in obese and non-obese individuals is critical to our research in metabolic disease, a key area of focus at Pfizer," said Barbara Sosnowski, Vice President, External R&D Innovation at Pfizer.

"Our relationship with Second Genome, a leading company in the rapidly growing microbiome field, may enable us to expand our knowledge in whole body metabolism, with a goal to better understand obesity."

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