This week’s featured startup is Metabiomics, a medical startup located in Virginia. We spoke to Gregory Kuehn, Vice President of Business Development and Marketing for the company.
Can you describe your company in one sentence?
Greg: Metabiomics is developing a non-invasive, easy-to-use, screening test for the earliest detection and prevention of colon polyps and colon cancer that works by DNA sequencing the microbes in the human gut.
What should a potential physician investor should know about your company?
Greg: Metabiomics has partnered with nationally prominent gastroenterologists at Capitol Digestive Care and the Metropolitan Gastroenterology group to develop solutions and answer clinical GI questions from a microbial ecology perspective by utilizing advanced next-generation DNA sequencing and computational biology tools.
What problem do you solve?
Greg: Colon cancer is often referred to as one of the most preventable yet least prevented cancers in the world. Colon cancer is the 2nd greatest cancer killer in the United States. Colon cancer kills more than 50,000 americans per year but there is an opportunity to intercept carcinogenisis by detecting polyps before they develop into cancerous tumors.
Our microbiome-oriented approach is a major advance in colon cancer and colon polyp detection because the roughly 100-trillion cells in the human gut are disrupted dramatically by the presence of neoplasia. The microbes in the the human gut don’t just help digest food. Microbes have also been observed regulating the human immune system and inflammatory responses and they have been suspected of being involved with several different drivers of carcinogenesis.
What was the genesis of the company?
Greg: Metabiomics founders have been collaborating for over 10 years on the development of tools for microbial ecology including DNA sequencing methodology, bioinformatics and computational diagnostics technology and applying it to the characterization of human health and disease. One of the key patents has been licensed from George Mason University after it was developed in GMU Microbiome Analysis Center (MBAC).
What large companies are in the space?
Greg: Large companies are Johnson & Johnson, and Pfizer. The microbiome space has grown rapidly in the last year. This article has some insight into that trend.
The first investments in the microbiome space have all been therapeutic biomarker discovery projects. The Metabiomics team believes that microbiome diagnostics will make it to market and make and impact on the healthcare system several years earlier than microbiome therapeutics.
Are you raising capital? How much have you raised in previous rounds?
Greg: We are raising $1.5 Million to support the completion of two ongoing clinical studies followed by $7.5 to $10 Million to develop and market the CP-CRC assay as CLIA lab developed test, CLIA laboratory provisioning and certification, and and marketing, sales, and distribution channels.
Do you have an advisory board? are there physicians on your advisory board?
Greg: Yes, Metabiomics has recently expanded its management team and advisory board to include extensive and diverse clinical and diagnostics commercialization experience. You can read about our clinical advisory team here.
What exciting things have happened recently for your company?
Greg: Our recently launched clinical study MB-01, will be one of the largest studies to date aimed at associating the microbiome with the presence of colonic neoplasia. Also, the Metabiomics founders have recently been awarded key patents for metagenomics analyses in the United States and Europe that enable our molecular diagnostics pipeline.
You can learn more about Metabiomics on their angelMD profile here.