Drug discovery and development firm Synlogic has partnered with organism engineering company Ginkgo BioWorks to identify new living drugs for the treatment of neurological and liver disorders.

Synlogic develops living Synthetic Biotic medicines containing engineered probiotics to carry out metabolic conversions in the gut for replacing the missing or damaged physiological activity in patients.

Under the collaboration, the firms intend to combine Synlogic’s expertise and knowledge on discovery, translational and clinical development of Synthetic Biotic drugs with Ginkgo’s automated foundry and insights in high-throughput organism screening and design.

The integration is expected to boost Synlogic’s drug discovery engine for the development of gut-based therapeutics.

Synlogic president and CEO JC Gutiérrez-Ramos said: “There is strong scientific evidence that neurologic conditions can be modulated by taking advantage of the natural cross-talk between gut and the brain, a conversation that involves hundreds of well-characterised metabolites.

“Combining synthetic biology and the microbiome to make living medicines is a novel, promising approach to developing treatments for a wide variety of conditions.”

“We look forward to creating a powerful new drug discovery and development engine with Ginkgo to deliver Synthetic Biotic medicines to modulate metabolites that influence the brain and liver.”

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The firms will determine a working model for the joint discovery engine and generation of drug leads.

Ginkgo Bioworks CEO Jason Kelly said: “Combining synthetic biology and the microbiome to make living medicines is a novel, promising approach to developing treatments for a wide variety of conditions.

“We have applied our automated foundry to design organisms for a wide range of industries and are excited to leverage our platform for therapeutics development for the very first time.”

In addition to evaluation of the new technology for treatment, the firms plan to enter other strategic alliances for the expansion of portfolio, clinical development and marketing in neurological and liver disease areas.