The PRWIRE Press Releases https:// 2020-10-06T00:23:13Z New therapies for depression with Australia's Microba and Boston biotech Holobiome 2020-10-06T00:23:13Z new-therapies-for-depression-with-australia-s-microba-and-boston-biotech-holobiome A Queensland Government grant will support Boston-based Holobiome to access Microba’s world-leading technology to develop new therapies for depression. Funding from the Queensland Government’s Biomedical Voucher Program will be used to examine the impact of specific gut bacteria in laboratory models of depression, and to analyse stool in human clinical samples. The project – valued in excess of $500,000 – will support a partnership with Boston-based Holobiome, a private biotechnology company developing human-derived bacteria that target the “gut-brain-axis”, for depression and other conditions related to the nervous system. The partnership will bring Microba’s world-leading expertise in metagenomic sequencing and sophisticated bioinformatics tools together with Holobiome’s promising microbiome therapeutic pipeline in an effort to change lives on a global scale. Microba and Holobiome’s collaboration will lead the way in analysing the impact of specific bacteria on the gut microbiome (community of bacteria living in the gut) in depression. Microba CEO Blake Wills said that the combined capabilities of both companies would assist in potentially changing lives. “The high-resolution analyses using Microba’s proprietary data processing platform will explore the gut microbiome of clinical samples,” he said. “This will help to identify if specific gut bacteria are linked with depression, which has the potential to positively impact the lives of those suffering from clinical depression.” The Queensland Government will provide matched funding for this research project to enable faecal samples to be analysed in Microba’s world-leading laboratory based in Brisbane. Queensland Minister for State Development, the Hon Kate Jones MP, said that Microba’s work had been recognised at the 2018 AusBiotech excellence awards where the company was named as the Australian Emerging Company of the Year. “The Biomedical Voucher Program grant will assist the company to continue valuable work on analysis aimed at identifying links between gut bacteria and mental health conditions such as depression,” Ms Jones said. Holobiome CEO Philip Strandwitz said that this international collaboration will support advancement of their existing microbiome products in development, in addition to providing a better mechanistic understanding of the link between the gut microbiome and disorders of the brain, like depression. “Depression is a tremendous and underserved global health problem. We strongly believe that international collaborations like what we plan to do here with Microba will be essential in furthering our understanding of the disease, with the ultimate goal to create solutions for those who desperately need them,” he said. “Our work and others in the field have identified possible mechanistic links between depression and the gut microbiome. Given the need, we’re excited to have the chance to leverage our microbiome discovery platform to pursue this, and grateful to the Queensland Government for the funding.” Microba is rapidly increasing its operations worldwide, with an increasing number of active collaborations and research projects with both local and international biotechnology companies. ENDS    Australian biotech Microba brings gut analysis to Europe with pathology leader SYNLAB 2020-07-18T01:07:41Z australian-biotech-microba-brings-gut-analysis-to-europe-with-pathology-leader-synlab The partnership will bring together the cutting-edge metagenomics sequencing and bioinformatics of Microba with the expertise of SYNLAB’s laboratory services team to deliver new gastrointestinal analysis services to their network of practising doctors and clinics. Microba was developed out of field-leading research from the University of Queensland, launching Australia’s first detailed gut microbiome analysis in June 2018.  The biotech has now assisted more than 10,000 Australians to assess their gut health individually or with an Australian healthcare professional. SYNLAB is the market leader in medical diagnostic services in Europe, with a presence in more than 40 countries across four continents. The co-delivered MyBiome gut microbiome analysis will be launched initially in two selected countries to provide healthcare professionals with access to new and actionable information on their patients’ health. Blake Wills, CEO of Microba, emphasised that the launch would expand the availability of the company’s world-leading gut microbiome analysis technology to customers in Europe, and assist Microba in their  global pursuit of driving new discoveries and improving human health. “Microba’s partnership with SYNLAB is a great example of two international forces joining together to embrace next-generation technologies and support local healthcare,” said Wills. “It will allow us to expand the reach of our technology into the European market, and bring innovation born in Australia into larger overseas markets to positively impact more lives,” he added. Microba’s award-winning proprietary Metagenomic Analysis Platform (MAP™) will be utilised to deliver the MyBiome analysis. Mr Wills said that delivering an analysis into the European market in partnership with SYNLAB allowed Microba to access large, established markets with unmet demand for comprehensive microbiome analysis services. “SYNLAB is a global leader in delivering medical diagnostic services and we are proud to be partnering to add advanced gut microbiome analysis to their portfolio, powered by Microba’s technology,” he said. Chief Medical Officer of SYNLAB Group, Dr Santiago Valor said, “We are excited to start this collaboration with Microba. SYNLAB’s commitment to medical excellence in diagnostics is underlined by complementing our test portfolio with the MyBiome analysis.” “Together we set a sign for continuous medical advancement to the benefit of patients and customers.” In addition to powering the new analysis service in Europe with SYNLAB, and a continuing partnership in the United States, Microba also works with research groups and healthcare organisations to advance global understanding of the human gut microbiome and its influence on health. ENDS    Microba co-founder and gut analysis expert to head microbiome research at QUT 2020-02-28T03:47:38Z microba-co-founder-and-gut-analysis-expert-to-head-microbiome-research-at-qut Professor Tyson is a leading expert in environmental and human microbiome analysis, with a career in microbiology spanning across more than 20 years within Australia and the United States. In 2017, Professor Tyson with co-founder Professor Philip Hugenholtz, established Brisbane biotech Microba. Professor Tyson was also most recently the Deputy Director of the Australian Centre for Ecogenomics (ACE) at The University of Queensland and has had more than a hundred papers published in reputable journals in the space. Professor Tyson will lead microbiome research projects and take up an appointment as a Professor within the School of Biomedical Sciences at QUT as they look to expand their microbiome research capabilities. Professor Tyson said he looked forward to bringing microbiome research excellence to QUT and also setting up the framework for world-leading microbiome course content for future budding microbiologists and bioinformaticians. “The public awareness of the importance of microbiome is increasing, and our aim is to understand the role that different microorganisms play in health and disease states,” he said. “Making microbiome research accessible to more Australian researchers and also bringing knowledge to future students is key to seeing our understanding grow to the point where we will see diagnostics and therapeutics developed that will have a global impact. “Ensuring that momentum continues in this important health space is integral to a future where those with diseases with links to bacteria living on or in them have access to quick and effective diagnostics, and life-changing therapeutics.” Microba CEO Blake Wills said he was pleased to see Professor Tyson take up the new role at QUT and lead a team of microbiome-focused researchers. “We are very proud of Gene and his contributions to microbiome research, including our ongoing work at Microba in developing diagnostics and therapeutics for conditions such as IBD,” he said. “I look forward to seeing Gene’s expertise continue to inspire both students and researchers within microbiome research and Australia’s tertiary curriculum.” QUT Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Margaret Sheil said she was pleased Professor Tyson had joined the team at the university. “Professor Tyson has been a leader in microbiome research and it will be exciting for our students to work with him and his team,” Professor Sheil said. Microba has assisted more than 10,000 Australians to explore their gut bacteria since 2018 and received the Brisbane Lord Mayor’s Award for Product Innovation in 2019.   ENDS Microba founder next VP of international Society 2020-01-08T00:51:09Z microba-founder-next-vp-of-international-society Prof Hugenholtz is widely known in the microbiology field as a leading researcher and was recently announced in the Clarivate Analytics 2019 Highly Cited Researchers List in two fields; Microbiology and Biology & Biochemistry. Prof Hugenholtz said it was an honour to have been voted in for the role and he looked forward to contributing from 2020 onwards. “Having worked in microbial ecology for many years now, I am excited to have been chosen by my peers for this important role, which will give me a chance to help shape the field in the coming years” he said. “Microbiology and microbial ecology in particular have really gained momentum in the last decades due to incredible technological advances, most conspicuously in the area of the human microbiome,  leading to a greater awareness of gut health in the public domain.” The research that launched the world-leading microbiome analysis technology of Microba was formed from Prof Hugenholtz and Professor Gene Tyson’s work at The University of Queensland. Both are co-founders of Microba and lend their high level of knowledge and expertise to ongoing research and discoveries. Prof Hugenholtz will start his term in August 2020, following ISME18 – the Society’s 2020 conference in Cape Town. ISME is a non-profit, membership organisation which promotes microbial ecology and connects those working in the field. Microba CEO Blake Wills said he was very pleased to see Prof Hugenholtz acknowledged as a leader in his field. “At Microba, we appreciate the exceptional skill and knowledge of both our co-founders, and we congratulate Phil on his appointment and look forward to supporting his endeavours as he continues his work with Microba here in Brisbane,” he said. ENDS.        Gut health testing Microba using machine learning with Google Cloud 2019-12-15T22:57:24Z gut-health-testing-microba-using-machine-learning-with-google-cloud Microba is one of Australia’s leading biotech companies in microbiome analysis and one of the first companies worldwide to offer gut microbiome profiles using advanced DNA metagenomic sequencing. Microba’s bioinformaticians and scientists are at the forefront of innovation, creating new methods of testing to capture the highest resolution view and deliver comprehensive analysis and accurate results. Recently, a Cloudversation discussion between Google Cloud’s APAC Managing Director, Rick Harshman and Microba CEO Blake Wills on how their partnership uses machine learning and artificial intelligence to develop potentially life changing therapeutics has been published. Microba now have the ability to predict irritable bowel disease in patients with 97% accuracy.   You can view the discussion here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gJKeNmajZbE&feature=youtu.be   ENDS.   Microba-empowered study investigates link between gut health and allergy in infants 2019-12-15T22:42:43Z microba-empowered-study-investigates-link-between-gut-health-and-allergy-in-infants Microba awarded Curtin University PhD Candidate, Jacquelyn Jones with a $10,000 research grant to empower her research with a team from multiple research institutions. For the first time, a team of researchers will examine the impact of prebiotic supplementation in maternal diet during pregnancy and breastfeeding to prevent allergic diseases in babies. Microba is supporting a sub-study to perform a detailed analysis of the gut microbiome of some infants to track how the prebiotics given to their mothers during pregnancy may have an impact on their baby’s microbiome. Detailed analysis of the infant gut microbiome may identify gut-derived factors that influence the healthy development of the infant immune system. The study utilises some of the stool samples from participants enrolled in the SYMBA study, operating out of the Joondalup Health Campus in Western Australia as part of the ORIGINS Birth Cohort Project. Microba CEO Blake Wills said that the research grants were awarded to three shortlisted candidates, with the aim of seeing a tangible impact through investment in clinical research. “At Microba, we are focused on making a global impact in gut health and overall health,” he said. “We are committed to empowering Australian researchers to find the best ways to improve gut health for Australians and, in turn, the world.” PhD candidate Jacquelyn Jones said that “it is our hope that this study will show us how the infant gut microbiome develops and how autoimmune diseases such as allergy occur throughout this process. “To better understand the interactions that can occur in response to therapeutic intervention such as prebiotics, we will capture this data which will assist us in interpreting the shifts in this complex system.” Microba continues to partner with local and international groups to assist with groundbreaking research to bring their mission of ‘Bringing science to life’ and making a real impact across the globe to fruition. ENDS Brisbane’s Microba represented at international competition in Berlin 2019-11-12T01:45:36Z brisbane-s-microba-represented-at-international-competition-in-berlin Brisbane biotech Microba were chosen to participate in international pitching competition, the Falling Walls Venture in Berlin, based on their world-leading work in analysing gut bacteria. Microba CEO, Blake Wills, represented one of 20 pioneering young companies chosen to attend the global pitch competition, with an audience of over 750 industry leaders, decision makers and media representatives. Falling Walls Venture is held each year in Berlin, with universities and research institutions from across the world called upon to nominate their most innovative science startups who present their business models in five minutes. Mr Wills presented the company’s innovative Metagenomic Analysis Platform (MAP™), which powers the gut microbiome analysis capabilities of Microba, to the audience. The gut microbiome (community of microorganisms living in the gut) has been linked to numerous disease conditions and is thought by many to be a new frontier in medicine. Microba’s MAP™ recently won the Brisbane Lord Mayor’s Award for Product Innovation, for its ability to produce high-resolution gut microbiome profiles to consumers, health care practitioners and researchers. Mr Wills said it was a privilege to compete against international innovators and have Microba recognised as a world-leader. “To be able to showcase Microba’s capabilities as an innovative hub to international leaders and subject-matter experts is an excellent outcome,” he said. “Our technology is world-leading, innovative and growing its reach rapidly, allowing us to expand into international markets. “To fly halfway across the world and present our work at a globally-renowned conference is a great indicator that we are on the right track and can continue to grow in our research and impact on the global health care industry.” Microba is a home-grown Brisbane-based startup, with its roots coming from research of Co-founders Professors Phillip Hugenholtz and Gene Tyson at The University of Queensland. The company recently announced expansion into the United States with its MAP™ platform through a partnership with DNA sequencing company, Macrogen. Microba: Could one of the secrets to high-performing NRL players lie in the gut? 2019-10-21T04:18:20Z microba-could-one-of-the-secrets-to-high-performing-nrl-players-lie-in-the-gut Brisbane-based gut health testing specialists Microba, have partnered with Australian National Rugby League teams the Kangaroos and Jillaroos to investigate whether one of the secrets to high performance in sport can be found in the gut. Microba has administered their home-testing kit, Microba Insight™ to Kangaroo and Jillaroo players ahead of their 2019/2020 representative season, to discover if making changes to their diet and influencing their gut microbiome can assist in driving performance. The local biotech is a world leader in gut microbiome testing which looks at the bacteria living in a person’s gut, the functions they are performing, the potential of that bacteria and how they can improve gut microbiome health with dietary and lifestyle changes. Microba CEO Blake Wills said that working with elite athletes provided a great opportunity to test how effective influencing the gut microbiome could be on performance. “Working with the NRL has given us a mutually beneficial chance to investigate the best ways to impact sporting performance by influencing the gut microbiome with diet and lifestyle,” he said. The athletes will have their individual gut microbiomes tested, with personalised reports, tailored dietary suggestions and the opportunity to talk with Microba’s team of scientists, Accredited Practising Dietitians and Nutritionists about changes they can make to boost performance based on how their gut microbiome absorbs nutrients, the capacity of their gut bacteria to produce beneficial substances and their metabolism function. Recent research has shown that a certain species of bacteria in the gut microbiome appears to be more abundant after exercise in some individuals, impacting the way that bacteria break down lactate. This study on the Veillonella bacteria has opened up a world of possibility around simple, accessible ways that athletes could potentially increase performance. Australian Kangaroos Elite Performance Manager Troy Thomson has championed the efforts, seeking the best possible natural advantage for his players in the coming season. “Microba are providing a great opportunity to find ways we can alter our athletes’ diets while in camp and on the road to see if we can find even a small way to increase their performance,” he said. “It is our hope that this type of intervention could translate across other teams in the NRL as a best practice for healthy, high-performing players.” Microba’s experts and the NRL will look at the test results and decide on the best dietary changes going forward to boost the teams’ performance and ensure player gut microbiome health is at a high level. ENDS Microba and Google Cloud use innovation and AI to level up gut microbiome testing 2019-10-03T23:39:28Z microba-and-google-cloud-use-innovation-and-ai-to-level-up-gut-microbiome-testing-1 CEO of gut health testing specialists Microba, Blake Wills, presented at the Google Cloud Summit in Sydney last week to share how working with global powerhouse Google Cloud allowed the startup to combine expert scientific knowledge with high-powered analytics and machine learning capabilities. In March this year Microba first announced it had turned to hyperscale computing from Google Cloud to expand Microba’s capabilities within Australia and overseas in the microbiome research and biotechnology fields. Since Microba launched its customer test, Microba Insight™ in June 2018, over 10,000 samples have been pushed through their proprietary bioinformatics pipeline – Metagenomic Analysis Platform (MAP™). The collaboration with Google Cloud and Partner Max Kelsen has thus far reduced storage costs by 20 per cent, allowed for computing scalability up to thousands of CPUs when processing is required and down to zero when not, moved workload storage into cloud native architecture and reduced time for sequence run processing from 48 hours to under 12 hours. Mr Wills said that working with Google Cloud allowed the company to bring the best cloud engineering talent together to optimise the use of Google Cloud services. “The use of Cloud Storage for production pipelines and data storage is recognised as an important business requirement to keep Cloud Storage costs down for a small startup that relies heavily on using 100TBs of data,” he said. “Microba has enabled thousands of customers in Australia to grasp a deeper understanding of their gut microbiome and provided diet-based interventions to make a positive change since launch. “Microba has also assisted practitioners to use new insights and world-leading research to assist in making informed decisions for patient health.” The world-leading biotech are building the world’s largest database of metagenomic gut microbiome samples and assisted health and lifestyle data using innovative technology. Microba’s Lead Bioinformatician Dr David Wood said that as the database grows, Google Cloud’s machine learning technology will be used to identify increasing numbers of significant associations between specific microorganisms and genes which can accurately predict different disease states. “Deploying artificial intelligence allows us to explore complex relationships between bacteria and human health, delivering promising leads for new diagnostic tools using the gut microbiome and AI,” he said. “Providing computing at the scale and elasticity required by Microba was an exciting challenge for Max Kelsen, by leveraging Google Cloud Platform’s particular capabilities, including specific instance sizing and high throughput networking, and Kubernetes, we achieved a state that ticks the technical requirements at the same time as delivering significant cost reductions,” CEO and Co-founder of Max Kelsen, Nicholas Therkelsen-Terry said. Colin Timm, ANZ Country Director of Google Cloud said, “Genomic data is growing significantly and we’re honoured to play a role in the work Microba and Max Kelsen are doing to accelerate breakthroughs in gut microbiome research.” Microba’s MAP™ is up for the Brisbane Lord Mayor’s Award for Product Innovation in October 2019.   ENDS Brisbane-based Microba partners with UNSW Sydney’s Microbiome Research Centre to deliver world-class analysis 2019-09-23T05:54:02Z brisbane-based-microba-partners-with-unsw-sydney-s-microbiome-research-centre-to-deliver-world-class-analysis Australia’s leading gut microbiome testing specialists Microba have partnered with the Microbiome Research Centre (MRC) at UNSW to power new gut microbiome research to discover new links with disease states and potential therapeutics. The collaboration between Microba and the MRC combines world-class microbiome analysis with leading clinicians and scientists, sharing a vision to not only discover new links with disease states, but with the ultimate goal of developing new diagnostics and therapies to help patients. Launched in 2018, Microba is leading the way with next generation analysis investigating the role the gut microbiome plays in overall health. MRC held its official opening 12 August and will investigate how disturbance in the microbiome occurs and how it causes disease – a critical step in preventing it. Microba co-founder and microbiome research pioneer, Professor Phil Hugenholtz welcomed the partnership, explaining that this opportunity would enable some of Australia’s best researchers to access the best analytical tools available. “We hope that by furthering our knowledge of the gut microbiome, we will be able to improve the health and wellbeing of individuals. This collaboration allows all parties involved to contribute to this vision,” he said. “With at least half of the population complaining of a digestive issue each year, high-powered research is essential to provide diagnostics and therapeutics into the future.” The MRC is directed by UNSW Medicine Professor Emad El-Omar, a well recognised clinical gastroenterologist specialist with 20 years of gut microbiome research experience.  Professor El-Omar is also the Editor in Chief of the highly reputable journal, Gut. “We are delighted to collaborate with Microba, a company underpinned by outstanding scientists at the cutting edge of research in the microbiome field,” he said. “Our complementary strengths will deliver real benefits to patients the world over. “The microbiome is an exciting new frontier in medicine and together we will harness its power to treat and prevent disease.” Microba’s team were pleased to host Professor El-Omar on a tour of the Microba lab when he spoke at Brisbane’s Translational Research Institute on 13 August.   ENDS Gut health testing biotech Microba up for the 2019 Lord Mayor’s Innovation Award 2019-09-23T05:46:14Z gut-health-testing-biotech-microba-up-for-the-2019-lord-mayor-s-innovation-award Brisbane-based world leaders in metagenomic testing, Microba, are among 56 finalists competing for a Lord Mayor’s Award in October this year, as a finalist in the product innovation category. Microba are one of five finalists for the 2019 Queensland Urban Utilities Award for Product Innovation for their Metagenomic Analysis Platform (MAP™) which provides quality, high-resolution analysis of the human gut microbiome. MAP™ is the company’s own proprietary sample processing and bioinformatic analysis pipeline which uses the gold standard in gut microbiome processing – metagenomic DNA sequencing – to provide a significant innovation to industry. Launched in 2018, Microba has grown rapidly in the last 14 months, with over 7,000 Australians exploring their gut bacteria, several key research projects underway with respected partners and well-known investors such as Korea’s Macrogen. CEO Blake Wills said that the company was pleased to be a finalist in the Lord Mayor’s Awards and looked forward to attending the Awards dinner to see who took out the awards for each category. “Microba is a home-grown innovative start up in Brisbane, and it’s great to see our contribution to industry and the local business community being recognised by our Lord Mayor,” he said. “MAP™ provides customers with affordable access to deep information about the gut microbiome that was previously not readily accessible. “The information we are accessing through MAP™ is advancing our understanding of how the gut microbiome influences health and will accelerate the discovery of new diagnostics and therapeutics.” Brisbane’s Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner said in his official press release that there was an incredibly strong group of finalists this year. “These businesses and individuals make a positive impact on our local economy and community, but also internationally with ground-breaking research, products and services,” he said. The Lord Mayor’s Awards will be announced on 18 October at a Gala Dinner held in Brisbane.   ENDS