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4d pharma to fork out £11mln for university start-up

Tucana Health, founded by professors Fergus Shanahan and Paul O'Toole from University College Cork, is hoping to use the microbiome signatures to help diagnose and treat of diseases.

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Initially, 4D’s work with Tucana will focus on the diagnosis of and patient analysis for irritable bowel syndrome.

Ambitious 4D Pharma (LON:DDDD) will splash out just under £11mln in an all paper deal to acquire a university start-up.

Tucana Health, founded by professors Fergus Shanahan and Paul O'Toole from University College Cork, is hoping to use the microbiome signatures to help diagnose and treat of diseases.

For the uninitiated, the microbiome is found in the gut and on the skin.

It consists of 10,000 microbial species and some 8mln protein encoding genes.

What we are beginning to learn is this eco-system, a microbial genome if you will, affects immunity, cognitive heath and the metabolism.

And it appears to be far easier to influence than the human genome, which is the focus of traditional biotechnology.

Initially, 4D’s work with Tucana will focus on the diagnosis of and patient analysis for irritable bowel syndrome. 

Longer term, the idea is to build a diagnostic platform across a number of disease areas mirroring the programmes developed by MicroRx, 4D Pharma's therapeutic platform. 

Duncan Peyton, 4D’s chief executive, said: "We believe the diagnostic platform developed will become an important part of patient care, giving health professionals an understanding of how, or more importantly whether, a patient will respond to a therapeutic regime; but also expanding the information within 4D Pharma to understand and potentially address new therapeutic areas."

The acquisition will be funded by the issue of 1.41mln shares, which at £7.55 each means the deal is worth £10.6mln.

The founders will receive 410,603 shares initially, the rest will be forked over once certain milestones have been achieved.

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