The three-year deal looks to develop the product AxisBiotix, a probiotic blend of ‘good’ bacterial strains based on the modifying abilities of bacterial species identified in psoriasis disease pathways.
“We have developed business partnerships across the world and a key criteria for us is that our partners share our ambition to make a difference in people’s health and want to use their businesses as a force for good,” says Maarten Pekelharing, CEO of Winclove.
“We are proud to begin a collaboration with SkinBioTherapeutics and feel privileged to work with such a renowned scientist as SkinBioTherapeutics’ CSO Professor Catherine O’Neill.”
The terms of the collaboration will see SkinBioTherapeutics wholly-owned subsidiary, AxisBiotix identify and select the bacterial strains and oversee patient testing, while Winclove takes charge of the formulation and manufacture of AxisBiotix.
While the development agreement is for three years, the deal can be extended by mutual agreement.
Both Winclove and SkinBioTherapeutics retain ownership of respective intellectual property and will be responsible for their own costs in relation to the development programme.
‘Gut microbiome link’
“There is strong scientific evidence pointing to a link between gut dysfunction, stress-induced alterations to the gut microbiome and skin inflammation,” says Stuart Ashman, CEO of SkinBioTherapeutics.
“We believe that in this partnership with Winclove, can create a specific probiotic food supplement that has the potential to help manage the hard-to-treat symptoms of psoriasis.
“This agreement with Winclove represents the next phase of SkinBioTherapeutics’ strategy to develop new avenues of microbiome-based technology, this time focused on the gut-skin axis.”
With this latest deal, AxisBiotix will be tested in a UK human study for patients suffering from mild to moderate psoriasis.
The study, managed by SkinBioTherapeutics, will start this year and is likely to take approximately 12-18 months to complete.
Depending on the study results, SkinBioTherapeutics will proceed with commercialisation with a commercial launch agreed by both parties within 24 months of the completed development programme.
“We are very excited to help SkinBioTherapeutics develop and bring to market together a new probiotic formulation for such an innovative scientific area as the gut-skin axis with the potential to enhance the quality of life for people with difficult to treat skin conditions like psoriasis,” adds Pekelharing.
“Since 1991 our founding fathers, Bram van Leeuwen and Pieter Pekelharing, were fascinated by probiotics and believed strongly in the importance of probiotics and their effect on our microbiome. This fascination and belief is still the ethos of our family-owned company today.”
Psoriasis is a debilitating skin condition caused by a malfunction of the immune system whereby skin cells are replaced more quickly than normal.
There is no cure; mainstay therapies tend to be steroid-based, which cannot be used long term and have side effects.
Worldwide, approximately 2% of the population is believed to suffer from the condition and the global psoriasis market was valued at around €27.8bn in 2018 and is expected to grow to €43.5bn in 2022.
The deal also represents the second phase of SkinBioTherapeutics’ strategic plan, following the UK firm’s recent agreement with Croda in the active skincare sector.
Here, the partnership announced in November last year, will see SkinBioTherapeutics’ SkinBiotix platform paired with Croda’s expertise in sustainable, cosmetic ingredients for the growing skincare actives market.
Further terms of the agreement will see any licensed products resulting from this agreement sold to Croda’s global portfolio of Personal Care customers.
SkinBioTherapeutics will be paid tiered royalties based on global sales revenues on any licensed products derived from the partnership dependent on successful development of the technology.