Introducing Microbiome Futures
Posted 13th July 2017 by Jane Williams
Great expectations have been raised over the last two decades by advances made in unlocking the mysteries of the microbiome and by first inroads taken into harnessing the resulting scientific insights for wellness and therapeutic purposes.
The sobering reality however is that with the exception of fecal microbiota transplantation for the treatment of Clostridium difficile infection and of a handful of scientifically backed probiotics, the development of microbiome based therapeutics and wellness products – whether targeting the microbiome or using it as a source of therapeutic and prophylactic compounds – has been slow in the making because of our limited understanding of the complex biology underlying the microbiome’s function and physiology.
Despite this knowledge gap, however, researchers, investors and companies are increasingly coming together to devise new and creative ways in which to address the challenge. And the time is now right to collectively assess the state of affairs in the microbiome space as it pertains to translational potential, hurdles and future directions by bringing together stakeholders ranging from basic researchers to venture capitalists and pharmaceutical executives.
In the microbiome space today, many strategic and investment decisions are made early in the value chain and include translational collaboration as a key component of the process. Translational collaboration here refers to the kind of interdisciplinary and multi-directional exchange of ideas needed to support existing and future investment in the early high-risk work aimed at eventually creating commercial value from new science and technology.
To get there, especially in a very noisy field such as the microbiome space which is full of high expectations but also huge uncertainties, it is imperative for those involved – researchers, investors and companies – to pause and take the time to reassess where the field as a whole is headed, what realistic opportunities and critical hurdles lie ahead, and to articulate a concerted effort to bring the promise of the microbiome to the next level.
Since 2012, the annual, global Microbiome R&D and Business Collaboration Forums have focused on bringing the science and business aspects of the microbiome together under one roof. Five years later, with multiple collaborations and partnerships resulting from these events, these forums have become the go-to meetings for microbiome researchers and investors worldwide.
Against this backdrop of innovation in the microbiome space, and building on its far-reaching network of key opinion leaders and its experience providing a forum for collaboration in the field, Global Engage is now poised to convene top players from academia and pharma, technology providers and the investment community to discuss and define the future of microbiome research and its potential commercialisation over the next two to four years.
Microbiome Futures – A Global Translational Roadmap will bring together key opinion leaders in the translational space and will focus on laying out the technical challenges and strategic opportunities for basic science, venture capitalists, biotech and pharma to lift the field to the next level. Following consultations over the next few months with dozens of KOLs from a variety of regions and backgrounds, we will convene a working group of five to eight KOLs in advance of the summit to develop a picture of the state of the field and help frame an in-depth discussion of the issues identified in the consultation round.
On May 23rd 2018 in New York, a face-to-face roundtable discussion moderated by Susan Jones, Senior Editor at Nature Biotechnology will take place. A combined summary and analysis of the roundtable discussion, the working group’s feedback, and the KOLs’ initial input will be submitted for publication as a Roadmap for Microbiome Translation white paper in Nature Biotechnology shortly after the New York summit.
We look forward to meeting you in New York, but until then let us keep you up-to-date with the final panel member list, agenda and the special launch offer. Sign up here.
Gaspar Taroncher-Oldenburg is an independent biopharma consultant. He was previously Founding and Managing Editor of Nature’s SciBX: Science-Business eXchange (now BioCentury Innovations) and scientific editor of Nature Biotechnology.
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