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Making a Gut Decision: Microbiome

— Kaitlyn Petit, WE 

Making a Gut Decision: Microbiome


“How do you even define what a normal microbiome is?” – Raymond Stapleton, Senior Vice President of Manufacturing at Synthetic Biologics

Go with your gut. Make a gut decision. What does your gut tell you?

The answer is uncertain, but at WE our Health sector is eager to help pinpoint the answer for how our gut connects to the rest of our body and overall health.

man on stage at Bugs, Drugs & Beyond event talking about an infographicAt Bugs, Drugs & Beyond: Translational Approaches to the Microbiome, a group of entrepreneurs, big pharma experts, gastroenterologists and biotech specialists got together to discuss and explore the ways in which innovators are harnessing the human microbiome and advancing novel therapeutics and diagnostics.

Although the studies behind how the microbiome affects overall health are fairly new, many believe rebuilding healthy bacteria in the gut could be the key to curing inflammatory bowel diseases, autoimmune diseases, and even depression and anxiety.

In particular, the event’s QuickFire Challenge highlighted a cast of innovators with promising ideas and research with the potential to impact patients. Each presenter spoke about a convergence of technology and healthcare, highlighting why their company deserved to win a customized package of support from the Janssen Human Microbiome Institute. Listening to each presenter made it clear how important gut health really is and how biotech is truly seeking out the answer to real gut problems.

Stand out companies:

  • Astarte Partners: A company that specializes in preterm infant gut health that has created an analytics system allowing for personalized care and nutrition to optimize growth and outcomes for prematurely born babies. Both MassChallenge and Janssen see the potential in Astarte’s NICUtrition microbial health informatics platform, investing both time and money into the company as mentors.
  • Holobiome: A company turning bugs into drugs to treat mental health disease by modulating gut health through the neurotransmitters in the gut-brain axis. Eventually, the organization is even looking to treat sleeping disorders and Alzheimer’s. Amgen believes Holobiome to be a rising star, awarding the company lab access to LabCentral, Amgen’s innovative, shared laboratory space designed as a launchpad for premier high-impact life sciences and biotech startups.
  • Dermalytica: A company looking to kill acne by better understanding acnes and how it affects the microbiome. Dermalytica wants to specifically look at how lysics can help selectively and rapidly fix an unhealthy gut. The organization has already begun clinical development for its drug.

Attending this event was not only educational to our team at WE Health, but highlighted how truly interconnected the human body is and how our own microbiome could truly be the solution to some of the biggest pains and littlest aches.

Post-event, the real question arises: What doesn’t your gut tell you?


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