SkinBioTherapeutics, a life science company focused on skin health, announces that its wholly owned subsidiary, AxisBiotix Limited, has signed a development agreement with Winclove Probiotics B.V., (“Winclove”), a specialist in the research, development and manufacture of probiotic food formulations and supplements, to help manage the symptoms associated with the skin condition, psoriasis. SkinBioTherapeutics and Winclove will design and develop a probiotic blend of ‘good’ bacterial strains based on the modifying properties of specific bacterial species on known psoriasis disease pathways.
This blend will be developed into a probiotic food supplement which will be called AxisBiotix™. SkinBioTherapeutics will be responsible for the identification and selection of the bacterial strains and patient testing; Winclove will be responsible for the formulation and manufacture of AxisBiotix™. The development agreement is for a period of three years but can be extended by mutual agreement. Each party retains ownership of its respective intellectual property and will be responsible for their own costs in relation to the development programme.
As a pre-requisite to commercialisation, AxisBiotix™ will be tested in a UK human study for patients suffering from mild to moderate psoriasis. The study, to be managed by SkinBioTherapeutics, is expected to start in 2020 and is estimated to take approximately 12-18 months to complete. On the basis of a positive read-out, SkinBioTherapeutics will then proceed with commercialisation and the parties have stated their intention for a commercial launch within 24 months of the completed development programme.
Psoriasis is a debilitating skin condition caused by a malfunction of the immune system whereby skin cells are replaced more quickly than normal. This causes an accumulation of skin cells which build up to form raised ‘plaques’ on the skin, which can also be flaky, scaly and itchy. 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 approximately $30bn in 2018 and is expected to grow to $47bn in 2022 at a CAGR of 11.5%.
Stuart Ashman, CEO of SkinBioTherapeutics, said:
“There is strong scientific evidence pointing to a link between gut dysfunction, stress-induced alterations to the gut microbiome and skin inflammation. We believe that in this partnership with Winclove, which was initiated by our CSO, Prof. Cath O’Neill, we 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. It also represents the second phase of our strategic plan, following our recent agreement with Croda plc in the active skincare sector.”
Maarten Pekelharing, CEO of Winclove, said:
“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.
“We are proud to begin a collaboration with SkinBioTherapeutics and feel privileged to work with such a renowned scientist as Prof. Catherine O’Neill.
“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. 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.”