The license grants LNC exclusive worldwide research, manufacturing and marketing rights of therapeutics developed as the firm continues its work on the gut-brain axis and its role in the onset of depression and anxiety.
“The conclusion of this agreement with LNC Therapeutics reinforces our belief about the potential advantages of the bacteria Christensenella in human health,” says Yolanda Sanz, professor of research and head of the Microbial Ecology, Nutrition and Health group at the Institute of Agrochemistry and Food Technology (IATA) of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC).
“The fundamental role played by the gut and its microbiota in the functions of our central nervous system is still a field of research in development, and I am convinced that this new research program will allow us to quickly identify new therapeutics properties specific to a bacterial strain of Christensenella for mood disorders.”
This agreement is based on research led by Professor Sanz, also a lead investigator of the European MyNewGut project, which looks into the role of key bacteria in metabolic impairment of the brain.
In collaboration with colleagues from Austria, the research found obesity-related brain impairment involved the gut microbiota, as a component linking unfavourable nutrition and emotional-affective disease.
Christensenella minuta, a component of the human gut microbiota associated with low body mass, was evaluated in this mouse model.
Results revealed the bacterium failed to counteract the effect of a high-fat diet in inducing obesity and depression-like behaviour in mice in a 4-week intervention, which the team said could be partly due to the short study duration.
Meanwhile’s LNC’s own investigations into the Christensenellaceae family of bacteria have uncovered links to a reduction in body weight and adiposity of mice.
More importantly, the Bordeaux-based firm have also started research into the action of the gut microbiome on neuroinflammation, selecting bacteria strains’ and testing their ability to treat behavioural diseases linked to gut dysbiosis.
“The gut-brain axis is certainly one of the most innovative area in drug discovery today, and it is an exciting opportunity for LNC Therapeutics to leverage our expertise in preclinical, manufacturing and regulatory activities to develop first in class products in that field,” says Georges Rawadi, the firm’s CEO.
“We are pleased to announce today the acquisition of this new licence that broadens the applications of our Live Biotherapeutic Products to mood disorders, which is an area of high unmet medical needs.”
The agreement follows a patent licencing deal struck with Cornell last year that gave LNC exclusive, worldwide manufacturing and marketing rights on products for obesity and metabolic disease treatment.
While LNC has filed IP in the space itself, Cornell University had also filed a family of patents in the space, which according to Rawadi was 'complementary' to LNC's own portfolio.
He noted that LNC had filed multiple patents on the modulation of Christensenella to fight obesity, while the IP from Cornell was focused on the direct use of the bacteria to modulate obesity and metabolic diseases.
“That is why those two patents, or patent families, complement each other very well,” he said at the end of 2018.
“Because one deals with the modulation of the bacteria and the other one deals with the direct use of the bacteria.”