TMBC Monthly Newsletter, January 2017, V2

Every month The Microbiome Coalition (TMBC) will bring you the latest in research, news and information to keep you up to date on the microbiome industry.

Microbiome in the Spotlight

An End to Antibiotic Resistance?

Antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest threats to global health today, impacting not just our ability to fight disease but also our food safety and global development. Development of new antibiotics had dropped precipitously into the early 2000's. Despite the desperate need, the pharmaceutical industry has cut back or dropped out of antibiotic research altogether due to poor pipelines and diminishing returns on investment. 

As Clayton Christensen of Harvard Business School would say, the area is ripe for a disrupter, and that's exactly what 25-year-old Shu Lam, a student at the University of Melbourne in Australia is. Ms. Lam has just come up with a star-shaped polymer that can kill six different superbug strains without antibiotics, simply by ripping apart their cell walls.

Read more about this young disrupter here

In the News

Wondering when and if the worlds of precision medicine and the microbiome will converge? Wait no more. Enterome is entering a clinical trial that will evaluate a novel therapy that targets the microbiome to treat Crohn’s disease and id developing a companion diagnostic in parallel with the Phase I trial. Full article here

Synthetic Biologics Phase 2b Trial of SYN-004 for C. difficile Achieves Primary Endpoint. Synthetic Biologics announced positive topline data from its Phase 2b clinical trial for SYN-004 (ribaxamase), the Company's first-in-class oral enzyme designed to protect the gut microbiome from disruption caused by certain intravenous (IV) beta-lactam antibiotics. Preliminary analysis of the data indicated seven confirmed cases of CDI in the placebo group compared to two cases in the ribaxamase treatment group. Full article here

Inside and out, ASU engineer studies the role microbes play in health. Environmental engineering associate professor Rosa Krajmalnik-Brown is serving on the National Academies’ Committee for Advancing Understanding of the Implications of Environmental-Chemical Interactions with the Human Microbiomes. This ad hoc committee is tasked with developing a research strategy to better understand the interactions between chemicals found in our environment and intestinal, skin and lung microbiomes, as well as to determine their health effects. Full article here

Vaginal microbes point toward early detection and screening for endometrial cancer. Endometrial cancer triggers remain elusive, despite continued research. But given the typical inflammatory profile in these cases, microbes in the uterine environment are suspected to play a role in the development of this disease. To probe the microbes directly within the uterine environment and examine how these microbes could influence cancer within the endometrial lining, Mayo researchers conducted the first direct assessment uterine microbiome study published in Genome Medicine. Full article here

AOBiome Partners with iCarbonX and Secures $30 Million Investment for Drug Development.Leading microbiome company AOBiome announced it has partnered with iCarbonX, China's largest health data collection and analysis platform. iCarbonX was founded in 2015 by renowned genomicist Jun Wang, whose iCarbonX ecosystem has made a $30 million investment in AOBiome. The investment reinforces the ascent of AOBiome as a leader in microbiome drug development, and is underscored by the recent launch of its Phase 2 clinical trial employing the company's novel bacterial platform for treatment of hypertension. Full article here

Microbiome Fellowships and Prizes

American Gerontological Association (AGA) Investing in the Future Student Research Fellowship- provides 10 awards at $5,000 for underrepresented minority undergraduate and medical school students to perform eight to 10 weeks of research related to digestive diseases or nutrition. Details here