Marcy l’Etoile, France – Cynbiose, a service company specializing in the development and commercialization of innovative preclinical models, today announces that it has procured financing of €1.9 million ($2.1M) under the third phase of the French Program ‘Investment for the Future’ (PiA3). These funds will make it possible to launch CYNBIOME, the first excellence network on microbiota and infectious diseases based on the Non-Human Primate (NHP) model. CYNBIOME is financed by the French government and the Auvergne- Rhône-Alpes region and is supported by Bpifrance (The French Public Bank of Investment).
We are currently witnessing a scientific revolution with regards to microbiome studies. There is a wealth of scientific data to indicate the significance of microbiota in human health; microbiota composition plays a factor in the onset of numerous conditions including inflammatory diseases, such as Crohn’s disease, infectious diseases, metabolic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, auto- immune and central nervous system diseases. Microbiota composition also has an influence on the efficacy of targeted therapies in humans. More specifically, numerous studies suggest that the composition of the microbiome has a genuine influence on the response to immunotherapy drugs for treating cancer or infectious diseases, as well as to antivirals and vaccines.
This new project aims to drive and structure the CYNBIOME excellence network. It will take full advantage of the synergy between local stakeholders by creating a division for the preclinical investigation of microbiome. The murine model has allowed for major advances in the field of microbiome, but the results obtained using it cannot necessarily be transferred to humans, in particular because of the physiological and genetic differences between mice and humans. To date, there is no NHP efficacy model for studying microbiome, in particular in the context of infectious human diseases.
The aim of the network is to develop this model and the relevant analytical tools through collaborative R&D projects. This will allow CYNBIOME to offer unique preclinical services in the field of microbiome and infectious diseases, centered on the use of the NHP model. These services are aimed at the biopharmaceutical industry and will initially cover the preclinical validation of the safety of Live Biotherapeutic Products (LBPs), followed by studies on microbiota as a biomarker of, or natural adjuvant, to anti-infective agents. These services will subsequently be extended to other therapeutic areas.
Cynbiose’s partners for the CYNBIOME network are: ABL, AMA Research Solutions, Biose, Maat Pharma, Biofortis (Mérieux Nutrisciences Group), Viroscan3D and the academic research institutes BIOASTER, the laboratory CarMen, the International Center for Research in Infectious Diseases (CIRI), SFR Biosciences and the technological research platform Virnext. Certified by Lyonbiopôle, the project includes the construction of a technological facility, primarily dedicated to R&D and preclinical services, with a dedicated area for hosting the network and welcoming new start-ups. The construction of the building, due to start this year, is expected to take two years.
“CYNBIOME stands out in its positioning on the NHP model, which is currently little used due to a lack of available expertise and infrastructure. It brings together regional stakeholders with complementary expertise to create a brand-new preclinical study service focused on microbiome and infectious diseases. The construction of a regional reference center, which includes a confined facility managed by Cynbiose, will allow NHP models to be manipulated for studying microbiota and carrying out infectious challenges. This type of infrastructure doesn’t currently exist in Europe,” said Françoise Le Vacon, CSO of Merieux NutriSciences (CRO). “Supported by its 15 years of expertise, Biofortis is making its resources and high-performance metagenomic analysis tools available to take on the major challenges of microbiota in infectious diseases.”
“We would like to make the CYNBIOME structure a unique network that connects a translational model with technological tools, scientific and industrial expertise, and specialized partners for the preclinical study of microbiota in NHP models. This innovative project, the first of its kind in Europe, demonstrates Cynbiose’s ability to position itself as a spearhead in these major scientific and economic challenges, bringing together talents in a therapeutic field that addresses important public health needs,” said Hugues Contamin, CEO of Cynbiose. “The already available preclinical services will be continuously improved and complemented thanks to CYNBIOME R&D results. The project may also open up to other fields, such as metabolic, inflammatory and central nervous system diseases, at some point in the future.”
“CYNBIOME represents a real breakthrough in microbiome research by overcoming the numerous limitations of murine models and allowing the transfer of knowledge and innovative therapeutic approaches in humans,” said Hubert Vidal, director of INSERM research and of the Laboratory CarMen (cardiovascular, metabolism, diabetology and nutrition at the University of Lyon), a CYNBIOME partner. “This project also places the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region at the same level as the large international centers that actively develop NHP models. For our laboratory, there is also an obvious interest in being able to use the NHP model to tackle other issues such as nutrition and combating metabolic disorders, such as diabetes and obesity.”
“The Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region has historically been home to major international players in the sectors of microbiome and infectious diseases, both academic and private. By granting almost one million euros to support the establishment of a preclinical sector in these subjects, the region continues to support the many regional players, facilitating their development and increasing their visibility at an international level, ” said Yannick Neuder, vice-president of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region (France) in charge of higher education, research, innovation and European funds. “The CYNBIOME project brings together technological tools and specific skills which make it an unparalleled innovation hub in Europe and a unique structure which will strengthen the competitiveness of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes ecosystem, in line with its regional innovation policy.”
“We are delighted that this microbiota and infectious diseases network project has been granted national financing, thus demonstrating the commitment of the French government to investing in this promising field of biomedical research. CYNBIOME reflects the capacity for collaborative innovation between public and private partners in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region. Its structure and its unique and innovative nature make it suitable for the microbiota-related activities and themes that we have been developing for several years. Lyonbiopôle is very proud to have supported Cynbiose and its partners in the emergence, construction and endorsement of this project. It addresses significant public health challenges, highlighting the ecosystem we are hosting,” said Florence Agostino-Etchetto, managing director of Lyonbiopôle.
CYNBIOME will also help Cynbiose supplement its expertise in infectious diseases, pursue its R&D activities and, within the next five years, help increase the company’s turnover, which is expected to be €4M ($4.4M) in 2025. It will also more than double its personnel to a total of 30.