Precision microbiome company Microba (ASX: MAP) and the US-based F&B company International Flavors & Fragrances (IFF) have entered the second phase of their joint research initiative, aiming to develop novel microbiome-based treatments for various allergies. The collaboration, a strategic move within the bioscience and health sectors, signals a step forward in addressing the need for novel solutions in allergy treatment.
This is crucial in Australia, which has one of the highest rates of allergies globally. Recently, the Government set aside funding of $16.6 million from 2022-23 to 2025-26 so that the Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA) and Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia (A&AA) can set up a National Allergy Council. This further underscores the importance of Microba and IFF’s mission.
Under the terms of the research agreement, IFF is set to pay Microba approximately $924,150, with the possibility of additional stages leading to licensing agreements and royalties. The financial commitment reflects IFF’s interest in leveraging Microba’s expertise in precision microbiome science to advance allergy solutions.
Microba’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr Luke Reid, said, “We are excited to continue our partnership with IFF with a view to creating efficacious treatments for allergy sufferers. This program strongly aligns with Microba’s mission of improving human health, and we are delighted to partner with IFF as a leader in the field to achieve this goal.”
Microba focuses on chronic disease therapeutics and global gut microbiome testing. In Q1 FY24, it reported strong Q1 FY24 results with a 62% YoY revenue increase in domestic Personal Testing and a 72% growth internationally. The uptake of its healthcare test for gut health, MetaXplore, surged by 33% in Australia between June and September. It reported a cash burn of over $5.2 million against customer receipts of $1.7 million. By quarter-end, Microba had $25.9 million in cash reserves.
The ongoing research collaboration with IFF revolves around a discovery program to isolate key species identified for allergy treatment. This marks the second agreement between Microba and IFF, with the initial research collaboration commencing in November 2021.
In the initial stage, Microba identified lead species, and IFF made selections for advancement. The current phase signifies the progression of selected Project Species from the first stage to the second. The overarching goal of the second stage is the successful isolation of strains from the Selected Project Species for IFF and the characterisation of those strains.
The agreement grants IFF an exclusive option to license these strains for development and commercialisation. The research initiative commenced on December 4, 2023, and is expected to conclude upon the delivery of the final report by Microba to IFF around October 2024.
As the collaboration enters this critical second stage, shareholders have their eyes peeled for potential breakthroughs.
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