Eagle Genomics and Cargill agree on microbiome research collaboration

By Will Chu

- Last updated on GMT

Eagle Genomics and Cargill agree on microbiome research collaboration

Related tags: Cargill, Eagle Genomics, microbiome

UK-based microbiome firm Eagle Genomics is to enter into a pact with Cargill as part of a multi-year deal looking to harness artificial intelligence (AI) to the agricultural commodity giant’s microbiome and life sciences R&D.

The deal will use Eagle Genomics’ ‘e[datascientist],’ a platform that utilises machine learning to make novel connections concealed within a wealth of microbiome and genomics data.

According to the firm, the e[datascientist] can address large-scale challenges that come with microbiome data management such as host-microbiome interactions and understanding the systemic impact of multi-omics data in relation to the microbiome.

“We are delighted to be enabling Cargill to explore microbiome data for food and digestive health, an area which we believe will be transformed by microbiome discovery over the next decade,”​ says Anthony Finbow, Eagle Genomics’ CEO.

“We look forward to a future of industry-disrupting food and nutraceutical products for humans and animals, informed by our platform."

Cargill and the gut

The deal could be seen as a further attempt by Cargill to cement its growing interests in the gut microbiome, particularly the ingredients that promote its good health derived from renewable and nature-derived sources.

In October last year, the company invested €32m to add soluble fibres to its current portfolio of starches, sweeteners & texturisers marking its first move into soluble fibres in Europe as part of continued efforts to offer on-trend solutions.

Its Oliggo-Fiber chicory root fiber, is already a mainstay in a number of food and beverage applications, particularly in bars, where it helps to bind and keep the bar shelf stable and fresh tasting.

Studies have shown the fibre to be an effective prebiotic stimulating bifidobacteria at a dosage of just five grams per day.

“By revealing relationships between microbiome data entities and relevant multi-omics data, the platform will further enable Cargill to advance our understanding of the complex association between the microbiome and digestive and immune health in humans and animals," ​says Cargill’s marketing director, Mike Johnson of the deal with Eagle Genomics.

"Healthy animals, healthy people and a healthy planet are all interconnected. With the advanced knowledge and insights we anticipate generating from our microbiome data, the e[datascientist] will allow us to effectively build on our existing suite of health solutions and bring more relevant products to market in this exciting area of functional food."

e[datascientist] platform

The e[datascientist] platform has proved popular with a host of global health corporations, venture capitalist firms and pharmaceutical firms attracted to the technology’s blend of AI, a data valuation engine and visualisation techniques to uncover novel insights at the microbiomical scale.

The firm teamed up with Reckitt Benckiser in March 2020, in a collaboration​ looking to assist RB in producing new products for consumers, particularly in research areas such as the microbiome.

The collaboration was preceded by a partnership​ formed with Microsoft Genomics in October 2018, which served to meet computational challenges of genomics research.

At the start of this year, Eagle Genomics’ bioinformatics developer Greet De Baets, described the potential of probiotics and products focused on the gut microbiome, as a reason to be ‘very optimistic," ​with 'good studies that show it is possible to enhance the health of the gut microbiome.’

‘If we can identify links between the microbiome and conditions such as depression and autism and come to truly understand those relationships in a causal way, that would be incredible.

‘There is huge potential and, if these connections prove to be causal, we can really improve the health of human beings and our ecosystems.’

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