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PRESS RELEASE: Rebiotix and Microbiome Insights collaborate on a microbiome IBD tool for clinical development

Recent study provides proof of concept for using novel scoring system to define IBD-related changes in microbiome

With a growing body of science linking gut microbiota to inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), a need exists in clinical settings to understand changes in the gut microbial community as they relate to IBD and its management.
Two leading microbiome companies, Rebiotix (part of the Ferring Pharmaceuticals Group) and Microbiome Insights, are collaborating to validate one such tool: a proprietary analysis to determine how closely a patient’s microbiome resembles that of someone with IBD. Microbiome Insights’ bioinformaticians developed an IBD Microbiome Score, based on a vast dataset of over 1600 individuals with IBD and healthy controls. The metric combines the latest understandings of the gut microbiome as a complex ecosystem with information on hundreds of taxa in the bacterial community, rather than the presence or absence of specific taxa. Based on fecal microbial characterization by sequencing, the IBD Microbiome Score can be assigned for each individual patient at diagnosis and at different times throughout treatment, making the Score practical for clinical use. Leveraging Rebiotix’s proprietary Microbiota Restoration Therapy™ (MRT) drug development platform, the Score is being evaluated in active clinical trials to treat IBD.

“The microbiome field is enormously complex,” says Dr. Ken Blount, Rebiotix’s Chief Scientific Officer. “With the use of the first-in-class Rebiotix MRT platform continuing to expand into complex conditions such as IBD, it is critical to have strong, scientifically-validated tools to understand the dynamics of the microbiomes changes within our patients. We’ve seen first-hand how the novel platform and expertise of Microbiome Insights has the potential to rapidly advance not only our understanding of the impact of MRT on patients, but also to uncover valuable microbiome findings for the entire industry.”

“Our scientific team has consulted with leading gastroenterologists to explore ways of leveraging the science on the microbiome and IBD in the clinical setting,” says Microbiome Insights CEO Malcolm Kendall. “Now we have developed the first scientifically robust tool for tracking the microbiome of people with IBD and understanding its link to clinical outcomes. The ability to work with Rebiotix on this path to discovery underscores the future utility of our platform in the clinical setting.”

The companies are continuing to explore applications of Rebiotix interventions and Microbiome Insights’ personal health platform in other microbiome-related diseases.

About Rebiotix
Rebiotix Inc., part of the Ferring Pharmaceuticals Group, is a late-stage clinical microbiome company focused on harnessing the power of the human microbiome to revolutionize the treatment of debilitating diseases using drug products built on its pioneering Microbiota Restoration Therapy™ (MRT) platform. The MRT platform is a standardized, stabilized drug technology that is designed to rehabilitate the human microbiome by delivering a broad consortium of live microbes into a patient’s intestinal tract via a ready-to-use and easy-to-administer format. For more information on Rebiotix and its pipeline of human microbiome-directed therapies, visit www.rebiotix.com.

About Microbiome Insights
Microbiome Insights, Inc. is a global leader providing end-to-end services for microbiome DNA sequencing, including state-of-the-art bioinformatic analysis. Based in Vancouver, Canada, the company’s customized suite of services enables researchers and clinicians to easily and effectively include microbiome analysis in studies across a range of human, animal, agricultural and environmental applications. The multidisciplinary team of researchers and knowledge leaders at the company provide access to decades of expertise in traditional sciences such as ecology, microbiology, infectious diseases, and genetics. Microbiome Insights’ award-winning team is committed to providing clients with fast, dependable, cost-effective results.

See the original Business Wire press release here.

Dr. Julian Davies speaks at celebration marking the opening of Microbiome Insights’ new lab facility

The Microbiome Insights team gathered with nearly 100 clients, friends, and supporters on May 28th for a champagne reception to celebrate the company’s continued growth and the opening of its new laboratory facility in the award-winning Pharmaceutical Sciences Building at the University of British Columbia (UBC). The event was topped off by remarks by the esteemed Dr. Julian Davies, UBC Professor Emeritus and chair of the External Scientific Board of the NIH Human Microbiome Project from 2009-2012.

In his speech, Davies gave a brief history of how the Human Microbiome Project came to be. He traced microbiome research up to the present day, saying: “Microbiome science is really getting going and I think it’s great that UBC has its own microbiome company. We should support them as strongly as possible.”

Company co-founders Drs. Brett Finlay and Bill Mohn were in attendance at the reception, along with Microbiome Insights clients, advisors, investors, granting agencies, and strategic collaborators.

CEO Malcolm Kendall said, “The microbiome is a really important area of science that is an important part of human, animal, plant and environmental health.” He emphasized that the company is not merely a service provider — but that the team members have a wealth of knowledge and are actively moving the science forward. “As we gain more understanding in this area we hope to be able to use microbiome derived products, tools, and services to enhance health and potentially cure or treat diseases,” he said.

Kendall also announced that Microbiome Insights hopes to foster the growing microbiome research community at UBC as a founding sponsor of the first annual UBC Microbiome Conference, to be held November 8 to 10, 2018.

The company hosted a microbiome poster competition alongside the reception, with winners receiving free sequencing services. Kevin Zhong, a postdoc at UBC’s Suttle Lab, received the top prize (50 free samples of amplicon sequencing); Peter Rahfeld and Spence Macdonald from Withers Lab received 2nd place (30 free samples of amplicon sequencing) and 3rd place (20 free samples of amplicon sequencing), respectively. The people’s choice award (a cash prize of $250) went to Peter Dobranowski of BCCHR.

See here for some photos from the event:

Dr. Julian Davies speaks with Microbiome Insights CEO Malcolm Kendall and guests; PHOTO CREDIT: Amer Abu-Khajil

 

 

Drinks table awaiting guest arrival; PHOTO CREDIT: Amer Abu-Khajil

 

 

Microbiome Insights co-founder Dr. Bill Mohn speaks with attendees; PHOTO CREDIT: Amer Abu-Khajil

 

 

Poster competition held in conjunction with the reception; PHOTO CREDIT: Amer Abu-Khajil

 

 

Remarks by Dr. Julian Davies; PHOTO CREDIT: Amer Abu-Khajil

 

 

Microbiome Insights co-founders, employees, and advisors; PHOTO CREDIT: Amer Abu-Khajil

 

PRESS RELEASE: Microbiome Insights, Global Leader in Microbiome Testing, Expands to New Lab Facilities on UBC Campus

Company’s rapid growth spurs move to new state-of-the-art facility

VANCOUVER, British Columbia–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Microbiome Insights, Inc. has announced the opening of its new laboratory on the campus of the University of British Columbia (UBC). The company, a leading end-to-end service provider for microbiome DNA sequencing and bioinformatic analysis, has expanded into its new state-of-the-art lab in order to meet the needs of over 100 clients.

“We have experienced rapid growth in our business and across the microbiome testing industry,” says CEO Malcolm Kendall. “This move is a major milestone for our company and helps us meet the needs of our growing client base, to deliver the high-quality service they have come to expect from us.”

Founded by two world-leading microbiome researchers, Drs. Brett Finlay and Bill Mohn of UBC, Microbiome Insights has grown rapidly since its incorporation in 2015—supporting over 200 microbiome studies across academia and industry. The new laboratory, located in the UBC Pharmaceutical Sciences Building, enables the company to expand its capacity, hire additional laboratory technicians and initiate clinical laboratory (CLIA) certification.

Brad Popovich, former Chief Scientific Officer at Genome British Columbia and Chair of Microbiome Insights’ Board of Directors, says, “The emergence of leading companies like Microbiome Insights is a sentinel for the growth of the microbiome testing marketplace; they are following a similar pattern of accelerated growth the field of genomics testing experienced over the past two decades.”

Microbiome Insights marked the opening of the new laboratory on May 28th with a reception and microbiome poster competition. Dr. Julian Davies, one of the scientists that spearheaded the NIH Human Microbiome Project (HMP) and Chair of the HMP External Scientific Board until 2015, spoke about the importance of microbiome research and the unique benefits of a UBC-based microbiome testing company.

See the original BusinessWire press release here.

Microbiome Insights to mark opening of new lab space with champagne reception and microbiome poster competition

Microbiome Insights, Inc. is planning to move operations into a new laboratory space in UBC’s Pharmaceutical Sciences building — and to mark the occasion, they will host a champagne reception with a poster competition open to local microbiome researchers.

Poster competition details:

The competition is open to all researchers and research assistants affiliated with UBC. Participants may bring any poster related to microbiome data collected within the past five years — up to 3 posters per participant may be entered.

Posters previously presented at academic conferences are encouraged! Most standard poster sizes can be accommodated.

Posters will be judged on both scientific content and presentation. Judges will award first, second, and third prizes as well as a “crowd favourite”.

DATE: Monday, May 28th, 2018

TIME: 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm

PLACE: Pharmaceutical Sciences Building, UBC Campus (2405 Wesbrook Mall, Vancouver, V6T 1Z3), Mezzanine floor

Participants should bring their poster for setup between 1:00 and 3:30 on May 28th. Winners will be announced during the champagne reception at 5:30.

Prizes are as follows:

First place: 50 free samples of amplicon sequencing ($5,500 value)
Second place: 30 free samples of amplicon sequencing ($3,300 value)
Third place: 20 free samples of amplicon sequencing ($2,200 value)
Crowd favourite: Cash prize of $250

RSVP for the poster competition to Jen Bower: jbower1023@gmail.com

Only the first 30 entries can be accepted, so email now!

 

 

Life sciences industry leaders form Microbiome Insights’ inaugural board of directors

MAY 30, 2015 — Microbiome Insights, Inc. is pleased to announce the members of its inaugural Board of Directors (BOD). The members bring with them a wealth of knowledge from the global life sciences industry. Each one has achieved success in academic and/or industry roles and has contributed to groundbreaking advancements in their respective disciplines.

The members are:

Pieter Cullis, PhD, Director at the Life Sciences Institute, University of British Columbia.

Dr. Pieter Cullis brings decades of experience in research and business. He is, along with his colleagues in academia, responsible for many fundamental advances in the field of lipid nanoparticle systems for intravenous delivery of small molecule and macromolecular drugs. This work has led to three products which have been approved by regulatory agencies in the US and Europe, and a further five that have finished Phase 1 trials. Outside of his academic achievements, Dr. Cullis co-founded several biotech companies and has received many distinguished awards, including election to the Royal Society of Canada in 2004.

Brad Popovich, PhD, former Chief Scientific Officer at Genome BC

Dr. Brad Popovich has long been involved with Genome BC, serving on its Board of Directors from 2006-2011 and acting as the Chair for the Scientific Committee from 2008-2010. Alongside his current roles with Genome BC he serves as Chairman for the Genetic Information Management Systems and Director of the Centre for Drug Research and Development Ventures and Centre for Drug Development. His genetics expertise is in genetic counselling; he graduated with Masters degrees in genetic counselling and biochemical genetics, and was awarded a PhD in molecular genetics from McGill University. He also received postdoctoral training and a clinical fellowship in the lab of Nobel Laureate Oliver Smithies. Throughout his career, Dr. Popvich has held many titles as Director, Vice-President, and CEO of numerous companies and academic institutions—including founder and director of the Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory at Oregon Health Sciences University and founding member of the Oregon DNA Forensic Experts Panel.

Mike Fannon, Founder and CEO of BioIT Solutions.

Mike Fannon currently advises new biotechnology firms in the areas of information technology and customer relationship management, business strategy, and laboratory automation. He is CEO of BioIT solutions, a leading company specializing in advanced computational, workflow, and data-management systems for clinical diagnostics, drug development, and biotechnology research. He was the chief architect of BioIT’s innovative 1Platform4 software and was the former Vice President and Chief Information Officer at Human Genome Sciences, where he and his team developed computerized solutions to manage Human Genome Sciences’ R&D functions, high-volume labs, product development, and clinical trials. Mr. Fannon holds an MBA in Operations Analysis from American University and a Bachelors degree in Physics from Rollins College.

Events

6th Microbiome R&D and Business Collaboration Forum Europe

Microbiome Insights is headed to Europe! Look for us at Global Engage 6th Microbiome R&D and Business Collaboration Forum: Europe from May 20th to 22nd 2019 in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Along with over 300 academic and industry leaders, CEO Malcolm Kendall will be in attendance to discuss innovative microbiome research and the challenges and opportunities associated with commercialization. Kendall will also be moderating a can’t-miss panel on venture capital investment related to the microbiome. This exciting event will for the first time span three whole days and is an excellent place to meet willing investors and collaborators, as well as the chance to hear from top researchers and product developers. With interactive sessions like roundtable discussions and ample networking time, the event promises to provide a valuable space to meet and forge new connections within the microbiome biotechnology industry.