The trend toward personalised nutrition is both informed by and offers great opportunity around the microbiome, according to Florent Eveillard, an analyst with Alcimed and author of a new position paper, Microbiome: An area of opportunities for innovation. The food and cosmetic markets have seen a breadth of product releases, with multiple players on the global stage, making these spaces more mature than others. For example, research around the microbiome is affecting animal feed and agriculture, with impact on biopesticide development and live biotherapeutics.
That said, there is still a great deal of potential in the market. Eveillard noted: “The research output for microbiome in literature has been growing exponentially in the past 20 years and there are many promising areas of research on microbiome innovation from gut-organ axis to COVID-19. Despite the growing interest in this field, current research in microbiome is still in its infancy, and many gaps and challenges need to be tackled to unlock the full potential of microbiome.”
There are a number of promising research areas that are cited including the gut-organ axis; infant and child development including impact later in life; healthy ageing and longevity; and immunity, including the learnings from the COVID-19 pandemic. Alcimed’s paper also calls out research gaps and challenges such as how much the microbiome impacts disease development as it may not be a root cause but a mediating factor.
Further, there are great opportunities for commercialization around the microbiome. Eveillard calls out the importance of start-ups in driving global innovation and commercialization, as well as the acceleration of acceptance of microbiome benefits by consumers and health care practitioners. This increased interest along with new innovations is expected by Alcimed to boost the global microbiome market—covering agriculture, food and nutrition, health, and cosmetics—to US$9 billion by 2025, posting a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12.7% from 2020. This is expected to impact areas from personalised nutrition to agriculture and sustainability.
Eveillard concludes: “With the trends of increasing awareness, research output and commercialization, as well as improved awareness from consumers and regulators, the opportunities for microbiome product offerings are immense. … Despite more research needed to elucidate the microbiome association with diseases and its intervention strategy, the future of microbiome will be promising.”