Second Genome Presents Preclinical Research on the Impact of the Microbiome on C. difficile Infection

November 2, 2012, San Bruno, CA

Second Genome announced today new research demonstrating the impact that commensal or healthy bacteria have on the ability of the gut microbiome, the diverse population of microbes that inhabit the intestinal flora, to prevent against C. difficile infection. Preclinical data demonstrated a correlation between time from disruption to restoration of the microbiome and the ability for C. difficile to grow. These findings suggest that promotion of growth and rehabilitation of the gut microbiome may help close the window of susceptibility to C. difficileinfection

Data also suggest that certain commensal bacteria may be producing proteins or enzymes that confer resistance to infection. This research represents the potential of Second Genome's focus on the microbiome for the discovery and development of novel microbiome modulators, which are bioactive pharmaceutical and nutritional ingredients that benefit human health by altering the composition and activities of the microbial communities in the body. The study was presented at the recent International Conference on Clinical Microbiology & Microbial Genomics and used Second Genome's microbiome modulation discovery technologies to profile the microbiome in hamsters challenged by C. difficile before and after exposure to antibiotics.

"Recent interest in fecal transplants demonstrate how reestablishing the microbiome can prevent and cure infections such as C. difficile infection, however little is known about the function of the microbial populations in those fecal transplants that impact overall human health," said Todd DeSantis, co-founder and head of bioinformatics at Second Genome and an author of the study. "Our efforts to profile changes in the gut microbiome are helping us understand the function that certain bacterial species and their byproducts have on resistance to C. difficile and informs drug discovery programs."

The microbiome of fecal samples collected from hamsters following treatment with clindamycin were comprehensively characterized with Second Genome’s discovery platform. C. difficile culture growth and toxin production was inhibited by the presence of na ve hamster fecal extracts but not extracts collected 5 days post-administration of clindamycin. Inhibition was reestablished by 15 days after treatment. Time course analysis revealed a significant disturbance at day 5 through day 9, then a return to near baseline by day 20. A comparison of the microbiota before and 5 or 9 days after treatment with 30 mg/kg of clindamycin showed a profound decrease in Bacteroidetes and corresponding increase in Proteobacteria.

Second Genome's microbiome modulation discovery technologies generate and evaluate small molecules, peptide biologic and bacterial strains that modulate microbe-microbe and microbe-human interactions that contribute to health and disease. These technologies allow Second Genome to identify key microbial community members, activities and metabolites and assay for modulatory potential against host targets of interest. These capabilities combine Second Genome's depth of experience in microbiome research with proprietary and licensed technology for metagenomic assays, comprehensive bioinformatics pipelines, and novel in vitro and in vivo assays.

About Second Genome

Second Genome brings microbiome science to the discovery and development of therapeutic products. The company has established a pipeline of microbiome modulators that impact infection, immunity and metabolic diseases. Second Genome's development pipeline is fueled by novel technologies for identifying, screening and scientifically validating product candidates and microbial biomarkers. Second Genome's technologies have been rigorously validated through partnerships with leading pharmaceutical and nutrition companies, as well as academic and governmental research institutions. More information is available at

Media Contact:
Jason I. Spark
Canale Communications