Qiagen Joins French Biotech to Build the Next Generation of Microbiome Technology

Biomillenia Qiagen microbiome chip 1

Biomillenia harnesses the power of bacteria to keep the body healthy. The biotech has joined forces with Qiagen to develop microbiome-on-a-chip technology.

Scientists around the world believe that the microbiome could hold the key to human health. One company in this area, Biomillenia, develops microbial strains from previously unculturable microbiomes to unlock its full potential. The company has now joined forces with Qiagen, using its Microbial Genomics Pro Suite bioinformatics platform to boost its own microbiome-on-a-chip technology. This will help Biomillenia, and others working on the microbiome, to continue identifying previously unknown bacterial strains but at a much quicker rate.

The microbiome is made up of the trillions of bacteria living within our body, which have a massive influence on our health and wellbeing. These bacteria also contain genetic material and produce proteins that also play an important role. The is a strong link between the gut microbiota and gastrointestinal diseases, but they also have wider effects, modulating the immune system, metabolism and neurological function too. By better understanding its functionality, the microbiome could be used to treat diseases like cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, and autism.

Biomillenia’s microbiome-on-a-chip technology allows the culture and identification of bacterial species directly from natural samples. The chip contains over 100 million tiny droplets, which allows a diverse range of bacterial species to grow. Each tiny bacterial culture can be isolated, meaning new bacterial strains with desired characteristics can be taken directly from samples. The technology will allow the screening of up to 100 million microbes in 3 days, while traditional methods would take 3 years.

The wide range of organ systems that the microbiome has an effect on, and the diseases that irregularities can cause.

CEO of BiomilleniaDirk Loeffert, believes that this technology could give the microbiome field what it needs to move to the next level“The inability to culture, screen and isolate live bacterial species directly from the rich diversity of microbiota has previously been a significant limitation… The combination of our microbiome-on-a-chip technology with QIAGEN’s… microbial genomics bioinformatics platform provides a complete and effective solution.”

With biotechs and investors beginning to understand the huge potential of the microbiome, new companies harnessing its power are appearing across Europe and investment is flooding in. Bayer and Ginkgo Bioworks are launching a new company to develop technology for sustainable agriculture by engineering the plant microbiome, which received $100M (€84M) of investment. Enterome is one of the leaders in the field, already entering the clinic with a microbiome treatment for Crohn’s disease, and also targeting cancer. Eligo Bioscience has combined the microbiome with another exciting area of biotech, CRISPR, creating nanobots to fix the microbiome and treat diseases of the gut.

It is exciting to see more and more biotechs investigating the microbiome as an approach to effectively diagnosing or treating many diseases. Biomillenias microbiome-on-a-chip now making it easier to culture and pick of bacteria strains of interest, which could be a very helpful tool for those working in the field.

Images – Anatomy Insider / shutterstock.com; 4D pharma

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