The firms are recruiting 100 pregnant Swedish women for a trial to test the effectiveness of probiotic products to tackle Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy (ICP), which affects about 400,000 pregnant women around the world every year.
Its symptoms are extreme itchiness and it has been linked with preterm birth and gestational diabetes.
BioGaia holds 36% of MetaboGen and its president Peter Rothschild said the project was indicative of the increasing interest in probiotics by the pharma sector.
"BioGaia's investment in MetaboGen is long term and aims at developing the next generation of probiotic products, based on in-depth analyses of the microbiome,” Rothschild said.
“The research field is expanding rapidly and several large pharmaceutical companies have invested in microbiome companies.”