The animal world is full of species that can perform astonishing, and sometimes disgusting, feats. Take vultures, for example. “They eat this rotten meat that is full of pathogens and toxins, and they stay healthy,” Neta Raab told BioWorld. Raab is the co-founder and CEO of Wild Biotech Ltd., an Israeli startup that is seeking to understand gut microbiome contributions to these animal superpowers, and harness them for therapeutic use.
Investigators at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases have identified physiological factors that are not diseases in the narrow sense, but that nevertheless have large effects on microbiome composition.
BOSTON – The gut microbiome and its prospects for drug development have been matters of debate for a while, sharpened by the high-profile phase II failure of Seres Therapeutics Inc.'s candidate, SER-109, in the summer of 2016. A panel at Biopharm America surveyed the space in light of developments since the stumble with that candidate, composed of about 50 species of firmicutes spores derived from stool specimens from healthy donors, against recurrent Clostridium difficile infection.
The ultimate vision is pretty fantastical: A variety of synthetically engineered bacteria working together to diagnose – and even secrete proteins to treat – various inflammatory conditions or other immune-associated diseases. But researchers at the Wyss Institute at Harvard University and Harvard Medical School have taken another step along the path toward that goal.