Australia’s biotech company Microba to explore opportunities in India

M Somasekhar Hyderabad | Updated on February 29, 2020

Microba, an Australian company focused on microbial genomics with a unique kit to analyse gut bacteria, is exploring opportunities in India.

The gut analysis kit, commercially available, helps analyse the gut microbiome to detect micro-organisms. The company took part in the recently concluded BioAsia 2020 in Hyderabad.

As part of exploring collaborative work, the company executives met D Nageswar Reddy, founder Chairman and Managing Director of Asian Institute of Gastroenterology (AIG) and others from top management.

The AIG, in April, will be organising a World Gastroenterology Conference in Hyderabad wherein Microba will participate in greater strength.

The gut microbiome consists of trillions of viruses, fungi, and bacteria. Understanding the role of the gut microbiome and its possible links to diseases is an expanding area.

Microba, with its metagenomics analysis platform (MAP) is able to see at least 25 per cent more micro-organisms in the microbiome- more than other detection methods- and thus gain insights which are helping in developing diagnostic tools, says Dr Ken McGrath, clinical Liaison Manager.

At present, strong evidence is emerging on the link between the gut microbiome and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), mental health and heart problems (especially atherosclerosis). Through collaborations and clinical application of the kit, Microba hopes to tap into the growing genomic sequencing market in the near future.

Future ventures

The company has marketed over 10,000 kits in Australia and forged a partnership with a US company already. With the incidence of gastrointestinal diseases and IBD rising in India, there is a need for innovative solutions, both the AIG and Microba executives said.

Microba not only provides a home test kit and report to explain the bacteria living in a person’s gut, but also dietary suggestions to assist with fueling beneficial gut bacteria, the company says.

Microba’s ventures division are working to develop gut microbiome-derived therapeutics and diagnostics to assist those suffering from IBD. Australia has one of the highest incidences of IBD worldwide, with one in every 250 Australians affected by the disease – over 80,000 people total, as per latest data.

Microba has the ability to detect IBD from gut microbiome data alone, with more than 90 per cent accuracy. This is key to understanding the role of these bacteria in disease progression and developing new therapeutics and diagnostic methods.

Blake Wills, CEO, Microba said: “So far, we have identified 21 bacterial species commonly found in healthy individuals but not detected in those with Crohn’s, and 20 in those with Ulcerative Colitis. Our researchers are now looking further into this data and using cutting edge science to identify bacteria, or by-products of these bacteria, that can be developed as a potential treatment to induce and maintain remission.”

Published on February 29, 2020

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