The human microbiome represents the collection of trillions of microbes living in and on the human body. This may sound disturbing, but not all microbes make us sick. In fact, the vast majority of microbes play a role in many fundamental life processes, such as our digestion, development and protection from pathogens.
Over the past years, a large number of scientific breakthroughs have occurred with respect to understanding the importance of these bacteria in human health. In the longer term, these insights are likely to translate into new kinds of treatments based on bacteria.
A joint venture bringing life-changing treatments to patients
In 2019, Chr. Hansen took a quantum leap for its human microbiome lighthouse under Health & Nutrition when announcing a 50/50 joint venture with Swiss pharma contract manufacturer, Lonza AG. Now named Bacthera, which is a combination of the words; bacteriology, therapeutics and era, the new company has set out to enable customers to bring life-changing treatments to patients by pioneering the live biotherapeutic industry. Bacthera is a Contract Development & Manufacturing Organization that supports customers with Chemistry, Manufacturing & Control development and commercial supply of Live Biotherapeutic Products.
What are live biotherapeutic products?
Live biotherapeutic products, sometimes also referred to as “bugs as drugs”, hold huge promise to treat or prevent diseases, especially where patients do not respond to existing therapies. These good bacteria from the human body help us fight invasive bad bacteria. Fascinatingly, not two gut microbiotas look the same; we are all unique and our microbiome evolves throughout life, which could proof closely linked to the development of chronic diseases such as autism, asthma, Crohn’s disease, diabetes and Alzheimer’s. Diseases that we might be able to treat in the future with beneficial good bacteria by restoring the human microbiome’s “missing microbes”.
Bacthera has already been successful in winning and executing several projects for customers based in Europe, the US and Asia. Over 50 employees have joined (December 2020), and pharma GMP production approval is expected for our facilities in Hoersholm, Denmark, and Basel over the course of 2021 (drug substance and drug product facilities, respectively).
The long-term market opportunity is estimated to be more than EUR 1 billion with an addressable market of EUR 150-200 million in 2025 (only clinical trial market).