San Bruno, CA-based Second Genome is working with Janssen on a drug discovery initiative focused on therapeutic mechanisms in ulcerative colitis mediated by the gut microbiome through a collaboration the firms announced today.

Under the terms of the agreement, Second Genome will receive an undisclosed up-front payment from Janssen to apply its microbiome modulation discovery platform to characterize the role of bacterial populations in ulcerative colitis.

Further, upon achievement of certain research milestones, the San Bruno firm is eligible to receive additional payments from the pharma giant, through the Johnson & Johnson Innovation Center and the Immunology Therapeutic Area within Janssen Research & Development.

“Foundational microbiome research over the past several years has demonstrated that alterations to the microbiome are central to the development of inflammation and metabolic disorders,” Peter DiLaura, Second Genome president and CEO, said in a statement.

“The role of the microbiome in health and disease has arrived as a significant area of focus in pharmaceutical R&D,” DiLaura added. “This collaboration with Janssen will identify mechanisms by which microbial populations in the gut have an impact in ulcerative colitis.”

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