The announcement marks the latest in a string of collaboration deals between the two companies and marks the first foray into the arena of the early-life microbiome for Boston-based Holobiome.
Research shows that bacterial influences on human biology begin even before birth. Although the womb is considered sterile, an expecting mother's gut bacteria influence her immune response, nutritional status, and other factors that can impact the child's development and risk of disease later in life.
Shortly after birth, many of the same symbiotic bacteria that shape a mother's health take root in the GI tract of her child, protecting against pathogens and helping them digest complex sugars such as the ones found in milk.
"Our microbial passengers influence every aspect of our biology, including the development of our immune and nervous systems," said Dr Phil Strandwitz, CEO of Holobiome. "That makes the first few months an absolutely critical window for ensuring lifelong health."
The research collaboration will leverage Holobiome’s Microbiome Vault, a continuously growing strain collection which aims to be a comprehensive library of human bacteria, to identify, isolate, and develop next-generation probiotics and prebiotics.
Holobiome's platform starts with microbiome samples sourced from Holobiome's network of more than 9,000 healthy human donors around the world.
"It's an end-to-end platform to turn the promise of the microbiome into products for multiple industries," said Dr Strandwitz.
"We're thrilled to be working with the team at Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc.; we align strongly in the belief that the future will be powered by solutions that target the microbiome, and there's no better partner to help translate discoveries like the ones happening here into products that can help people worldwide."
Holobiome launched in 2018, and has been supported by its investors Corundum Systems Biology, iSelect Fund, and Alexandria Venture Investments, as well as non-dilutive grants from the NIH, and the Translational Research Institute for Space Health (TRISH) and several corporate partnerships.