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08 Apr 2021 | 13:01

SkinBioTherapeutics launches research programme with Manchester University

(Sharecast News) - Skin health science company SkinBioTherapeutics has initiated a research programme with the University of Manchester, it announced on Thursday, to investigate and develop microbiome formulations that support natural anti-inflammatory response to a range of environmental challenges. The AIM-traded firm said that expanding its collaboration with the university was one of the areas of investment it laid out during its fundraise in October.

It said the programme, which was set to run for two years, would focus on how the microbiome could "influence and rebalance" the body's response to inflammation in skin health and skin disease.

The immune system, as the body's biological defence system, is able to recognise potentially damaging agents, remove them and trigger repair, the board explained.

It said inflammation is a "key component" of that immune response, but immune response could sometimes become overstimulated, which could lead to chronic inflammation characteristic of some skin diseases such as atopic dermatitis, acne and rosacea.

Prolonged inflammation was also associated with chronic, non-healing wounds.

Working with the translational dermatology team at the University of Manchester, SkinBioTherapeutics said it had already identified a number of inflammatory pathways of interest, and routes to target those pathways with microbiome-derived regulators.

Subject to a positive programme outcome, the company said it intended to pursue commercialisation of any identified bacterial formulations through their addition to existing third-party products, or the development of new products targeted at specific conditions.

"This research programme with the University of Manchester aims to widen our understanding of the role that the microbiome plays within the immune system, and how it can be used to support the body's natural immune response," said chief executive officer Stuart Ashman.

"Similarly to our approach with the AxisBiotix food supplement, we hope to eventually bring immune-supporting microbiome formulations to market through everyday products, such as skin lotions and creams, where we see an increasing consumer preference for natural ingredients.

"This is an exciting new area of research for us and has the potential to broaden our skin health pipeline further."

Chief scientific officer, professor Cath O'Neill, added that there was now an "extensive" growing body of research demonstrating direct links between the microbiome and the immune system, and consequently skin health.

"The company is in the middle of a food supplement study and the potential modifying effect on skin conditions, such as psoriasis," O'Neill said.

"However, with this new line of research, we have the opportunity to assess the powerful effect of the microbiome on the immune system and skin health."

At 1243 BST, shares in SkinBioTherapeutics were up 5.04% at 57.77p.
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