Vaccine manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) of the United Kingdom has partnered with Viome, a gut microbiome test company in Seattle, Washington to better understand bacteria that live in the digestive tract and the role they play in the body’s immune system response.1
According to Emmanuel Hanon, senior vice president for research and development at GSK Vaccines, “We are very excited to partner with Viome because they have the technology to analyze human and microbial gene expressions in order to build predictive models that could guide vaccine development. Combining GSK’s vaccine expertise with Viome’s proprietary microbiome analysis and artificial intelligence platforms is a promising step forward in developing broader, vaccine-based therapies to help prevent and treat chronic diseases.”1
The business partnership, which focuses on chronic diseases, will give the GSK access to technology licensed from Viome’s Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico as well as data from other research projects. Viome examines gut organisms based on stool samples. In order to do so, it uses an artificial intelligence system nicknamed Vie to analyze how gut organisms function and what their genes tell them to do. Viome’s stool tests then assess whether the body is converting food into nutrients or toxins and delivers personalized recommendations to clients.1
Viome’s CEO and founder Naveen Jain said the declining costs of sequencing RNA and advances in artificial intelligence provides Viome with the ability to process large amounts of information from millions of people in a way that was previously impossible.1
“The current healthcare system is built on the belief that chronic diseases are incurable and that, at best, we can only manage the symptoms,” Jain said. “At Viome, we believe most chronic diseases can be prevented, and even reversed if the right minds can come together. We are beyond excited about our partnership with the GSK team who bring deep expertise in high-quality vaccines and are committed to the prevention of chronic diseases.”2
Neither GSK nor Viome revealed which diseases they would focus on and they did not provide financial terms of the two-year agreement.1
Several pharmaceutical companies are moving in the direction of exploring the human microbiome to create new vaccines. Merck & Co. made an agreement with 4D Pharma plc to gather insights into the microbiome with the goal of creating new vaccines. Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. also signed an agreement last year with Enterome SA, a biotech firm that develops medicines involving microbiome research.1
2 Globe Newswire. Viome announces scientific collaboration with GSK to research the prevention of specific chronic diseases. Viome Nov. 14, 2019.