Live biotherapeutic products, a roadmap for safety assessment

Alice Rouanet, Selin Bolca, Audrey Bru, Ingmar Claes, Helene Cvejic, Haymen Girgis, Ashton Harper, Sidonie N Lavergne, Sophie Mathys, Marco Pane, Bruno Pot, Colette Shortt, Wynand Alkema, Constance Bezulowsky, Stephanie Blanquet-Diot, Christophe Chassard, Sandrine P Claus, Benjamin Hadida, Charlotte Hemmingsen, Cyrille JeuneBjörn Lindman, Garikai Midzi, Luca Mogna, Charlotta Movitz, Nail Nasir, Manfred Oberreither, Jos F M L Seegers, Luc Sterkman, Audrey Valo, Frédérique Vieville, Magali Cordaillat-Simmons

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Recent developments in the understanding of the relationship between the microbiotica and its host have provided evidence regarding the therapeutic potential of selected microorganisms to prevent or treat disease. According to Directive 2001/83/EC, in the European Union (EU), any product intended to prevent or treat disease is defined as a medicinal product and requires a marketing authorization by competent authorities prior to commercialization. Even if the pharmaceutical regulatory framework is harmonized at the EU level, obtaining marketing authorisations for medicinal products remains very challenging for Live Biotherapeutic Products (LBPs). Compared to other medicinal products currently on the market, safety assessment of LBPs represents a real challenge because of their specific characteristics and mode of action. Indeed, LBPs are not intended to reach the systemic circulation targeting distant organs, tissues, or receptors, but rather exert their effect through direct interactions with the complex native microbiota and/or the modulation of complex host-microbiota relation, indirectly leading to distant biological effects within the host. Hence, developers must rely on a thorough risk analysis, and pharmaceutical guidelines for other biological products should be taken into account in order to design relevant non-clinical and clinical development programmes. Here we aim at providing a roadmap for a risk analysis that takes into account the specificities of LBPs. We describe the different risks associated with these products and their interactions with the patient. Then, from that risk assessment, we propose solutions to design non-clinical programmes and First in Human (FIH) early clinical trials appropriate to assess LBP safety.

Original languageEnglish
Article number237
Number of pages13
JournalFrontiers in Medicine
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Probiotics
  • nutrition
  • bacteria
  • toxicity


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