The programme will be fully funded by Ferring Pharmaceuticals and governed by a joint steering committee.
The proposed project focuses on therapeutic areas where Ferring has extensive expertise. Karolinska Institutet has a deep understanding of the human microbiome. Parts of the research will be carried out at the Science for Life Laboratory (SciLifeLab) that provides access to a broad technical platform for studying complex microbiological communities in well-defined human material.
The collaboration between the two partners form a solid foundation for the ambition of a better understanding of the contribution of the human microbiome to physiology and pathophysiology and opens opportunities for development of novel therapies. The research will be led by Professor Lars Engstrand, Karolinska Institutet, who will serve as director. The center will further establish an internationally competitive infrastructure with focus on translational research in the microbiome field set up to develop a comprehensive mapping of the human microbiome in health and disease.
“There is no question that the information coming from this field will lead to innovation in life sciences through improvements in diagnosis, prevention and therapy,” said Per Falk, MD, PhD, Executive Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer at Ferring. “This collaboration with Karolinska Institutet involving SciLifeLab will help to understand the role of the microflora in our key therapy areas and develop innovative treatments to better serve the needs of our patients.”
Anders Hamsten, president of Karolinska Institutet said: “This is yet another example of a strong collaborative research effort that Karolinska Institutet has set up with the pharmaceutical industry. The exploration of the human microbiome promises to provide new insights into its role in human physiology and pathology.”
“The strength of the center lies in its well-established network between scientists representing different competencies," said Lars Engstrand, Professor at the Department of Microbiology, Tumor and Cell biology and Director of Clinical Genomics at SciLifeLab. “By acting together, contributing resources and skills, we will now get a great opportunity to sort out the hope from the hype in this exciting research field.”