DuPont Nutrition & Health has announced the development of a significant new initiative with the creation of a Microbiome Venture to spearhead development of new microbiome science-based solutions. The Microbiome Venture will play a key role in DuPont’s business growth strategy.
“Microbiome science is developing extremely fast with tremendous opportunity for innovation,” said DuPont Nutrition & Health Global Technology and Innovation Leader Angela Naef. “With the Microbiome Venture, we intend to build on our probiotics leadership position to develop new microbiome science-based solutions for health and wellness.”
The Microbiome Venture will engage in strategic partnerships with other microbiome science leaders in academia and industry to accelerate product development. The Microbiome Venture is a focused entrepreneurial team with a strong connection to the larger DuPont organization, tapping into global research, development and commercialization capabilities. The Microbiome Venture investment will complement DuPont’s existing product portfolio, especially in the areas of probiotics and prebiotics, including human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs.)
The first major partnership of the Microbiome Venture is with the APC Microbiome Institute in Cork, Ireland, a collaboration between University College Cork, Teagasc (the Irish Agriculture and Food Development Authority) and Cork Institute of Technology, a world-leading Science Foundation Ireland Research Institute. This multiyear partnership with the APC Microbiome Institute will focus on maternal and infant microbiomes, which play a critical role in infant development and long-term health. The goal is to develop solutions for establishing a healthy microbiome in early life.
As one of the pioneers in the field of the microbiome, the APC has significant breadth and depth in microbiome science capability including an impressive track record in the areas of mother-infant and gut-brain axis. This made them an ideal partner for DuPont Nutrition & Health’s new venture.
“‘We are delighted to be working with DuPont Nutrition & Health on this exciting project, which we are confident will lead to new innovations in infant gut microbiome science, for advancing infant health and development,” said Professor Catherine Stanton, project leader at the APC Microbiome Institute.
The human microbiome comprises all the microbes that live in and on the body. In fact, there are as many microbes living in the human gut as there are cells in the human body. Academic research over the past 10 years or so has demonstrated the significant role these microbes play in human health and disease, yielding these revealing facts about how a healthy microbiome can be established in early life:
At birth, the infant acquires its microbiota from the mother by the transfer to the infant of microbes resident in the birth canal, gut, breast milk and skin.
At about two years, a mature microbiome develops in the infant with immune system development linked to that of the microbiome.
The infant’s microbiome composition is influenced by birth mode, antibiotic use and breast milk components such as Human Milk Oligosaccharides (HMOs).
 The definition of “human microbiome” has evolved over the years. It started out as a definition for the collective genomes of those microbes (bacteria, archae, fungi, protists and viruses including bacteriophage) that live in and on the human body but the term is now also used to describe the full array of microbes living in and on the body, also known as the “human microbiota.”