The agreement aims to specifically combine the preclinical testing capabilities of ProDigest with the expertise in clinical trials and microbiome analysis of Contract Research Organisation (CRO) Biofortis.
“We are pleased to collaborate with our colleagues at ProDigest to facilitate and accelerate the development of the future drugs and products in the field of gastrointestinal research,” says Etienne Casal, senior vice-president Europe of Mérieux NutriSciences, Biofortis’ parent company.
“This collaboration will also stimulate innovation by sharing R&D projects,” adds Benoit Fouchaq, managing director of Biofortis.
Ghent uni spin-off
Founded in 2008, ProDigest is a spin-off from the Laboratory of Microbial Ecology and Technology (LabMET), located at Ghent university (Belgium).
Specialising in gastrointestinal research, the firm now offers its own in vitro technology platform, developed at LabMET, which is organized round a dynamic simulation model of the gastrointestinal tract.
The model, Simulator of the Human Intestinal Microbial Ecosystem (SHIME), essentially recreates the physiology and microbiology of the entire gastrointestinal tract as well as generate insights into mechanisms of action of prebiotics, probiotics or drugs in different gastrointestinal areas.
“We are excited about this opportunity,” says Massimo Marzorati, CEO of ProDigest. “The research area around the human gut is rapidly evolving as witnessed by the requests we receive from our clients around the world.
‘Innovative supply chain’
“The collaboration with Biofortis will create an innovative supply chain in which in vitro and in vivo data will be merged to provide a unique insight on the efficacy and functionality of new actives in the food and pharma market.”
Similarly, Biofortis specialise in designing and running of experimental, pre-clinical sample analysis and clinical research projects, since 2002.
Its nutrition and microbiome analytical service includes the use of internal clinical investigation centres and central lab capabilities, that complement its knowhow in sample collection, analytical processes, biostatistics and other metagenomics services.
The CRO’s parent company, Mérieux NutriSciences, welcomed Nicolas Cartier as its new CEO on 1 October having been appointed as the firm’s COO in May 2020.