DuPont announces $7m infant health collaboration with APC Microbiome

DuPont and APC have joined forces on a four-year project on microbiome-based solutions to establish a healthy microbiome in early life for long-term health

DuPont Nutrition & Biosciences (DuPont) has announced a second collaboration with the APC Microbiome Ireland SFI Research Center (APC), a pioneer in the field of microbiome science, which focuses on microbes that live in and on the body and play a significant role in human health, based at University College Cork and Teagasc Moorepark.

Representatives from both organisations attended an event Washington DC, to celebrate US-Ireland research and development collaborations, and to announce the ‘Missing Microbes in Infants born by C-section’ (MiMIC) project and its potential to improve infant health.

The €6.3 million ($7.04m), four-year project will be funded jointly by DuPont and Science Foundation Ireland’s Spokes programme, a platform that is designed to deliver research results and discoveries with industrial relevance to bring significant economic and societal impact.

Establishment of a healthy gut microbiome in early life is influenced by birth mode, antibiotic use and nutrition

Martin Kullen, Director of Probiotics and Microbiome Research at DuPont Nutrition & Biosciences said: “We are honoured and privileged to be working with APC with the help of funding from Science Foundation Ireland on solutions and products that are key to our human microbiome platform. By working with the world’s leading microbiome research institute in APC, we look forward to providing critical health offerings for key unmet needs around maternal and infant health as well as solutions for cognitive health and well-being.”

The DuPont Human Microbiome Venture (HMV) was launched in 2017 to spearhead the development of next-generation microbiome solutions for improved health and wellness. HMV is designed to accelerate product development to complement its existing portfolio and build on DuPont’s strong expertise in prebiotics, microbes, proteins and enzymes.

“We are delighted to further develop our relationship with DuPont for the benefit of human health,” said APC Director Prof Paul Ross. “APC Microbiome Ireland is a global leader, particularly in mother-infant and gut-brain areas of microbiome science, and this collaboration further strengthens our capabilities for advancing infant health and development.”

Infant probiotics

The population of bacteria in the gut develops over the first four years of life and plays a key role in human health. Establishment of a healthy gut microbiome in early life is influenced by birth mode, antibiotic use and nutrition, including breast milk components. Infant gut microbiota can be severely depleted in infants born by C-section or exposed to antibiotics. Breastfeeding can help improve microbiota composition.

“APC Microbiome Ireland has expanded the research and development capabilities of Ireland in an area of immediate relevance to the food and pharmaceutical sectors of industry,” added Prof Catherine Stanton, Project Leader at APC Microbiome Ireland. “This project will allow us to identify the gut microbes in early life that play an important role in the short- and long-term health of individuals and will help to develop strategies to balance the microbiota following antibiotic exposure or C-section birth mode.”

The Ireland-based research team also includes Prof Eugene Dempsey, Consultant Neonatologist at Cork University Maternity Hospital and Clinical Senior Lecturer, Dept of Pediatrics and Child Health, APC Microbiome Ireland SFI Research Centre, as well as the INFANT Research Centre (UCC) and Prof John Cryan, who leads brain-gut-microbiome research at APC Microbiome Ireland SFI Research Centre.

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