Novozymes explores probiotic solutions to combat lead exposure

The company’s goal is to introduce supplements that can help bind lead and other harmful pollutants, helping the body to remove them.

Biological-ingredients developer Novozymes (Copenhagen, Denmark) says it is working on solutions to help people exposed to lead and other harmful pollutants. At the SupplySide West trade show in Las Vegas in November, company representatives discussed how the company believes that ingredients like probiotics can help address the problem.

Alexander Lommer Broe, MSc, MBA, is a product manager at Novozymes OneHealth (Lyngby, Denmark). Novozymes OneHealth is a startup backed by corporate parent Novozymes. Novozymes OneHealth’s goal is to draw from the company’s rich “biotech toolbox” of ingredients to develop solutions for human health. One of those solutions the company is eyeing is for environmental exposures.

“We have a very rich product pipeline coming out, with more than 20 different products across different areas,” said Lommer Broe at SupplySide West. “I think the next one that will most likely come focuses on this concept of removing things from the body. So, we have a probiotic that binds lead. And UNICEF came out with a report two years ago stating that one out of three children in the world suffers from too-high lead levels—and high lead levels are directly linked to cognitive development. So there is a huge need, we believe, to go and help get that lead out of the body.”

He added: “It’s a very different, novel approach to thinking about what probiotics can do and help you with. So it’s a very exciting product.”

A key target market could be China, “where the lead toxicity and awareness is higher,” he said. “We see great traction for that product specifically in China. Chinese populations are really used to taking traditional medicines and the whole concept of prevention and taking care of or taking control of your health, whereas in some other areas, we may focus more on quick fixes” in terms of supplement solutions.

Related to this effort, the company recently announced it is collaborating with LinusBio (Linus Biotechnology Inc.; New York City), an expert in “precision exposome sequencing.” Together, the companies are testing a new, non-invasive technology which will be used in a clinical trial to assess exposure to heavy metals such as lead.

Says a Novozymes press release: “The project will apply LinusBio’s environmental biodynamics platform, enabling detailed temporal mapping of harmful compound exposure, to a clinical trial of probiotics sponsored by Novozymes’ human health unit, Novozymes OneHealth. The clinical trial will assess exposure to heavy metals, such as lead, and a broad range of environmental pollutants, and is part of a larger clinical program from Novozymes OneHealth.”

It continues: “As part of the project, LinusBio will conduct a comprehensive study examining lead and other harmful chemical levels. Utilizing a single strand of hair, LinusBio’s proprietary exposome and biological response sequencing platform can generate data similar to several hundred liquid biopsies and reconstruct the subjects’ exposure to environmental toxins over time.”

“We are very excited to embark on this groundbreaking venture with Novozymes,” said Dr. Manish Arora, co-founder and CEO of LinusBio, in the press release. “Lead exposure has a detrimental impact on health, especially in children. Currently, there are no effective methods to eliminate lead once it has entered the body. We are aiming, together with Novozymes, to change that. This joint project combines innovative technology and a fresh approach that can offer a major advance in solving the longstanding problem of lead exposure.”

“The collaboration with LinusBio in translating complex exposome data into biological insights and critical global health benefits will be key to advancing our leading biosolution pipeline,” added Dr. Delphine Saulnier, Health Science Lead of the Protective Health Venture at Novozymes OneHealth.

“By combining this knowledge with our data science platform, the collaboration will give us a technical edge for pursuing new opportunities and further strengthen existing OneHealth solutions,” said Dr. Kimmo Makinen, product innovation director at Novozymes OneHealth.