Powered by Venture Funding, the Microbiome Market is Ready for Mainstream

by Aruna Rajan    Contributor        Biopharma insight

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2020 was an unusual year, for the first time, venture funding for microbiome companies substantially exceeded grant funding for microbiome research. In the year 2020, there were over 75K+ scientific publications, $1B+ grants awarded to microbiome research, ~150 ongoing clinical trials, and $1.5B+ venture funding. Does this mean that the microbiome market is evolving from being considered nascent to emerging/developing? To answer this question, let us dive deeper into the trends observed from the analytics of publications, grants, clinical trials, and venture funding.

 

Publications

Publication of scientific papers focused on microbiome research has been surging with over 75K publications in 2020 with stable growth of 24% in the past three years. Microbiome research has increased dramatically in recent years, driven by advances in enabling technologies such as next-generation sequencing (NGS), bioinformatics, gene editing, synthetic biology, metabolomics, and significant reductions in the cost of sequencing, gene synthesis. 

This wealth of research has enabled utility in a diverse spectrum of fields spanning environmental, agriculture, medical (incl. therapeutics and diagnostics) to consumer markets such as food and personal care.

Environmental research is focused on harnessing the microbiome to predict ecosystem response such as engineering of microbiomes to modify structures of the microbiota and restoring ecological balance. While microbiome engineering and plant microbiome interactions are being researched to improve agricultural productivity.

Credit: Design Cells

In medicine, the majority of the publications are targeting GI diseases (gut dysbiosis, Inflammatory bowel disease), interactions between nutrition & gut microbiome, and infectious diseases (C. difficile and antibiotic resistance). This is followed by research to understand the implication of the microbiome in immune diseases such as allergies, type 1 diabetes, thyroid, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus. Another top area is Oncology. There are numerous research studies that are investigating associations of microbiome and cancer, from oncogenesis and cancer progression to resistance or response to therapy. Microbiota-gut-brain (MGB) research is a fast-growing field. Microbiota is manipulated to reveal connections between intestinal microbiota and normal, pathological brain states. This could potentially lead to new avenues of treatment. Skin research has a smaller number of publications, but high two-year growth in a number of publications indicates that it is on the cusp of gaining traction. The influence of skin topography on microbial colonization and host-specific factors such as age are being studied.

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