Microbiome Insights’ Year in Review: 2017 by the numbers

This year, 2017, will go down in Microbiome Insights history as the year the company hit its stride and established itself as a leader in the microbiome testing field. The challenging work our team has been doing since we were founded in 2015 clearly paid off—as evidenced by our expanding client list, our strong financial position, and our team’s awards and recognitions.

In the past twelve months we have had to more than double the size of our Vancouver-based team, hiring some of the best technicians, scientists, and bioinformaticians to meet the needs of our clients.


Here are some highlights of our company’s 2017, by the numbers:


Place out of 150+ companies in the 17th annual BCIC-New Ventures Competition, the largest and longest-running competition for tech companies in BC. The judges, who award $300,000 in cash and prizes to early-stage start-up companies, honoured Microbiome Insights with second place overall and with the Center for Drug Research and Development (CDRD) Life Sciences prize.



Number of conferences Microbiome Insights attended as exhibitors or sponsors. Our team enjoyed meeting new and existing clients at important academic and industry conferences in all corners of North America—from ASM Microbe 2017 in New Orleans to the Microbiome R&D and Business Collaboration Forum in San Diego. We also trailblazed as one of the first microbiome-centered companies to attend two genomics events: ASHG 2017 in Orlando and the 3rd annual Understand your Genome conference in Boston.


British Columbia (BC) life sciences companies (including Microbiome Insights) on the ‘Ready to Rocket’ 2017 Life Science Emerging Rocket Lista business recognition program that profiles technology companies in BC with the greatest potential for revenue growth. These “Emerging Rocket” companies are recognized as having a clear business model and go-to-market strategy that will prove attractive to investors.



Number of microbiome studies our team supported this year—across a broad range of human, animal, agricultural, and environmental applications. We are very proud that many of these were repeat clients.


Number of dollars invested in our company by Genome BC, following successful equity financing. In combination with funds from the company’s recent round of equity funding, this will help build out our new CLIA-certified lab facility, grow our team and capabilities, and develop and launch new services and tests in 2018.


Here are some of the technical insights from our team this year:

  • The staying power of amplicon-based analyses: For studies whose primary objective is to get a comprehensive picture of the bacteria in an environment, or to build models of disease classification (for many diseases) data derived from 16S genes is as good as it gets
  • The power of multi-omics integration: Although it still poses technical challenges, integration of multiomics datasets can reveal things far beyond what each technology can show separately

And finally, here are our team’s picks for the hot areas to watch in microbiome science in the coming year:

  • The contribution of microbes to “inflammaging”—the progressive increase in pro-inflammatory status that occurs with age
  • Progress toward microbiome therapies that modulate the brain through the gut-brain axis
  • Larger and longer studies on the skin microbiome, looking at lifestyle factors and making more definitive associations between skin microbes (composition and function) and healthy skin
  • Tracking the presence of viruses in the gut microbiome and gaining insights about health implications

A very happy 2018, from our team to you!



PRESS RELEASE: Exploring the ‘second genome’ for new insights: Genome BC invests in local microbiome startup

DECEMBER 6, 2017 – As part of its Industry Innovation Program (I² Fund), Genome BC is investing CAD $750,000 in a local microbiome testing company—Vancouver-based Microbiome Insights (MBI), which provides next-generation-sequencing-based analytical testing and consulting services to microbiome researchers in academia and industry. The new funding adds to the company’s recent round of equity financing, which closed in October.

Microbiomes are the communities of microorganisms – including bacteria, viruses and fungi – that inhabit humans, animals, plants and other environments. These tiny universes perform diverse functions; microbiomes are critical to human health, affecting immune system function, vitamin and hormone synthesis, drug metabolism and energy harvest from the diet.

Detrimental changes to the human microbiome have been linked to allergies, asthma, colon cancer, C. difficile infections, diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, obesity, neurodevelopment and neurodegenerative disease and many other diseases. Genomic tools are yielding a growing body of knowledge about these links, paving the way for new opportunities to develop microbiome-based clinical grade diagnostics and therapeutics.

Malcolm Kendall, CEO of Microbiome Insights, says, “The explosive growth in microbiome research – given its fundamental importance to human, animal, plant and environmental health – has significantly outpaced existing capacity to provide microbiome testing, especially outside of academia. The building of this new industry is a unique market opportunity.”

“At Microbiome Insights, our ability to advance innovation through microbiome analysis is borne out by our rapid growth and expanding client list. We offer scientific leadership and customized solutions for our clients’ unique research challenges,” says Kendall.

A recent estimate put the global microbiome sequencing services market at over USD $500 million in 2016. With microbiome knowledge in the nascent phase, significant investment potential exists in this burgeoning market environment.

Dr. Tony Brooks, Chief Financial Officer and Vice President, Entrepreneurship and Commercialization at Genome BC, says, “Our I² financing of $750,000 combined with MBI’s recent round of equity funding will be used to accelerate MBI’s sales and marketing activities, make new hires, the buildout of a new CLIA-certified lab facility, and the development and launch of new services and personal health test products.”

Genome BC’s I² Fund provides commercialization support for companies developing innovative life science technologies that address biological challenges in key economic sectors in BC: Agriculture, Energy and Mining, Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture, Forestry, and Human Health. The I² Fund also supports digital health and other technologies that further move precision medicine into clinical practice. I² funding is repayable and is allocated to promising technologies (products, processes or services) at the early stages of commercial development. The Fund aims to provide risk capital that is concurrently matched by other public or private funding sources.

See this press release online here.