Development of pharmabiotics based on human gut microbiome or its products for human diseases whereby the improvement of quality of life

What are Next-Generation Probiotics (NGP)?

The gut microbiota plays pivotal roles in human health through interaction with the host (e.g. influencing the immune system or/and the physiology) and between the microbes, and thus its imbalance (or dysbiosis) are known to be strongly associated with the development of certain diseases.

Over the last decade, groundbreaking technologies such as 'next-generation sequencing (NGS)'' have made an enormous contribution to the microbiome study, enabling researchers to find out the differences of the microbiota between healthy and diseased states. Thanks to the comparative analysis, they have been able to identify some bacterial species present in low abundance in people with, for example, metabolic disorder such as type 2 diabetes. Some of the bacterial species have been demonstrated to have the efficacy to significantly improve specific diseases (e.g. Akkermansia muciniphila for metabolic disorder and Faecalibacterium prausnitzii for inflammatory colitis) and are widely considered to be potential candidates for so-called 'next-generation probiotics (NGP)', distinct from 'traditional probiotics' mainly composed of lactic acid bacteria or bifidus bacteria and currently available in the market.

The most promising candidates for NGP include A. muciniphila, Bacteroides fragilis, B. uniformis, Eubacterium rectale, F. prausnitzii, which produce short chain fatty acids (e.g. acetate, propionate, or butyrate) as main fermentation products.

Traditional Probiotics vs. Next-Generation Probiotics

Traditional probiotics Next-generation probiotics
Definition ISAPP (2014)1 ISAPP (2014)1
History of use Long history Not to date
Selection of species Randomly, commercial consideration, or living experience Comparative analysis of microbiota
Species being used or developed Mostly belong to lactic acid bacteria and bifidobacteria A. muciniphila, F. prausnitzii, B. uniformis, E. halli, etc.
Efficacy Not satisfactory or marginal effect Highly promising and disease-specific


  1. International Scientific Association of Probiotics and Prebiotics (2014). "live microorganisms that, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host"

  2. Nat Microbiol. 2017. 2:17057. doi: 10.1038/nmicrobiol.2017.572. Next-generation probiotics: the spectrum from probiotics to live biotherapeutics.

  3. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2013. 16:679-687. Future for probiotic science in functional food and dietary supplement development.

  4. Front Microbiol. 2019. 10:1047. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2019.01047. Emerging health concepts in the probiotics field: streaming the definition.

What are pharmabiotics?

It is defined as "bacterial cells of human origin, or their products, with a proven pharmacological role in health or disease" and thus includes live microorganisms and includes probiotics, bacteriocins, bacteriophages and bioactive molecules1,2.

* Adapted from ref. 2


  1. J. Physiol. 2009. 587, 4175-4179. doi: 10.1113/jphysiol.2009.174649. Therapeutic implications of manipulating and mining the microbiota.

  2. Front Microbiol. 2019. 10:1047. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2019.01047. Emerging health concepts in the probiotics field: streaming the definition.

Development fields