The microbiota in human health
and well being.


MetaGenoPolis aims to accelerate microbiome industry partnerships with appointment of new executive director

JUNE 1, 2018

INRA biotechnology research unit MetaGenoPolis has appointed a new Executive Director—Dr. Alexandre Cavezza, an organic chemist with two decades’ experience in industry research & development and project management. The appointment marks a new direction for the organization: “In guiding MetaGenoPolis, my goal is to accelerate research collaborations between MetaGenoPolis and industry partners,” says Cavezza. “This will allow INRA’s microbiome scientific discoveries to be translated more rapidly into meaningful applications.” With strengths in technical knowledge and team management, Cavezza hopes to see multiple innovations and start-up companies come to life. He says, “I welcome the challenge of leading an organization with so many well-known scientists—the best in the field. I want to gather the right resources for ensuring their work has the most impact, both in France and globally.” Cavezza will work on making the expertise and services of MetaGenoPolis understandable and available to private sector partners—offering them the possibility to outsource their research and achieve open innovation at a lower cost. “By connecting people and defining priorities, I hope to lead MetaGenoPolis through its next evolution,” he says.

MaaT Pharma becomes the latest MetaGenoPolis spin-out company

December 1, 2014

MetaGenoPolis announced today the founding of a new spin-out, MaaT (Microbiota as a Therapy) Pharma, a French company that will work to develop biotherapeutics that restore gut microbiome function in order to address complications of life-threatening diseases.
With leadership from biotechnology entrepreneur Hervé Affagard (CEO), MaaT Pharma will combine a strong team of entrepreneurs, pharmaceutical industry veterans, and scientific advisors. Enabled by funding an initial funding from Seventure, the company aims to become a global leader in the restoration of gut microbiota for improving patient outcomes.
MaaT Pharma will pioneer the development of biotherapeutics using the concept of “microbiotherapy” using a healthy donor’s specific gut microbiota samples as the starting material for producing a drug product. Their pipeline will focus on the creation of biotherapeutic interventions using high-biodiversity microbiomes to improve patient outcomes in blood cancers, with the target to establish an initial proof-of-concept in acute graft-versus-host disease.
Affagard says, “The technology we use re-establishes a functional ecosystem to patients that have received intensive drug treatments like chemotherapy, antibiotics, or stem cell transplantation, which change their gut microbiota dramatically. By restoring the gut microbiota, we restore the dialog between the immune system and the microbiota, as well as its metabolic function—and therefore, improve clinical outcome.”

MetaGenoPolis established in France to extend scientific work of the landmark MetaHIT project

JULY 2, 2013

Today, Institut national de la recherche agronomique (INRA) marks the establishment of MetaGenoPolis—a new research group with the purpose of carrying forward the scientific progress of the MetaHIT (Metagenomics of the human intestinal tract) project. MetaGenoPolis will retain the world’s most complete catalogue of human gut microbial genes, giving it an unprecedented potential for advancing knowledge about the intestinal microbiota and health. Based in Jouy-en-Josas, France, the group is funded by the French Stimulus Initiative Programme and is focused on applying this cutting-edge microbiome science to human and animal health.
MetaGenoPolis researchers include leading scientists—microbiologists Dusko Ehrlich and Joël Doré, immunologist Hervé Blottière, molecular biologist Emmanuelle Le Chatelier, as well as bioinformaticians and others. These researchers not only have access to the world’s most complete catalog of the human gut microbiota—both taxonomically and functionally well defined—but also to several important scientific platforms: SAMBO, METAQUANT, METAFUN, and INFOBIOSTAT.
“With MetaGenoPolis, the goal is to make these tools available, and to bring these new approaches to the academic, medical, and industrial communities—both in France and around the world, ” says MetaGenoPolis principal scientist Dusko Ehrlich. “We are only beginning to realize the potential applications of the science in this new and exciting field. In collaboration with our partners, this research group will undertake scientific projects on the ‘second genome’ that will ultimately lead to innovations in human and animal health.”
MetaGenoPolis will function as an biotechnology catalyst, partnering with companies in the pharmaceutical, nutrition, agriculture, and animal health industries to bring new products and services to the global market.

Pharmaceutical start-up Enterome is established to advance metagenomics discoveries

March 1, 2012

Today marks the founding of Enterome—a new Paris-based biotechnology company that will advance the discoveries of the quantitative metagenomics platform of INRA (MetaGenoPolis) to develop pharmaceuticals and diagnostics in gut microbiome-related diseases, including inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), certain forms of cancer, and metabolic diseases.
The company, which has received initial funding from Seventure Partners, is co-founded by pharmaceutical industry veteran Pierre Belichard along with Dusko Ehrlich, Marie Laure Bouttier, Rodolphe Clerval, and Pierre Rimbaud.
Under Belichard’s leadership, Enterome will pursue an understanding of mechanisms for the microbiome-linked indications of interest and will take a classical small molecules approach to therapeutic discovery. Clinical development will proceed through the initiation of trials in Europe and the US. The company also intends to lead the development of new industry standards in gut microbiome quantitative and functional analysis.
Belichard says, “Many different diseases have been linked with the gut microbiome—and Enterome is taking a close look at the most robust science on some of these indications. Through our platform, we look at function to identify what is over-expressed or under-expressed—in order to develop classic drugs to help address significant unmet medical needs.”
The company’s incorporation occurs in parallel with the establishment of MetaGenoPolis, a new research group that will continue the scientific progress of the foundational MetaHIT (Metagenomics of the human intestinal tract) project. MetaGenoPolis will serve to bring world-leading metagenomics expertise and technologies to partners across various industries: pharmaceutical, nutrition, agriculture, and animal health.