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BioMe Oxford – Winners of the IMAGINE IF! 2017 Accelerator

Marios Poullas Written by Marios Poullas
Published on 06 February 2018
3 min. read

BioMe Oxford is a start-up company based in Oxford, UK, founded by Oxford PhD graduates.  Our mission is to unlock the gut microbiome for research and healthcare applications.  To do this, we are developing an accurate and cost-effective solution for targeted gastrointestinal sampling.  

There is growing evidence showing that variations within the microbiome are associated with numerous diseases including inflammatory bowel disease, colorectal cancer, obesity and many others.  These insights have heralded microbiome health-related applications for disease diagnostics and monitoring, as well as development of personalized medicine.  Our idea was first conceived while we were carrying out research at the University of Oxford.  Our Chief Scientific Officer [CSO] Dr Agnieszka Chomka, who is an intestinal immunologist, saw the lack of a viable method to accurately sample the bacteria and biomarkers within the gut.  Unfortunately, current methods that are capable of sampling the human microbiome have limited applications, due to being either cheap but inaccurate (e.g. faecal swabs), or accurate but costly and uncomfortable for the users, making them unsuitable for large-scale medical research and efficient diagnostic use.  

To address this unmet need, we founded BioMe Oxford in April of 2015 to focus on the development of a targeted, orally ingestible pill-sized medical device for low-cost and non-invasive sampling of the gut microbiome, which we refer to as our BioCapture® technology.  This device, when transiting through the human gut, will be triggered to target specific parts of the intestines and capture a sample of intestinal content, including the microbiome and other biomarkers.  Our device will provide information relating to the health status of the individual, treatment progress and potentially risk for certain disease conditions. 

Our development kicked off when we received an award from Innovate UK, from which we began our partnership with the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC), part of the High-Value Manufacturing Catapult at the University of Sheffield. Last year, we also recruited a highly experienced non-executive director, Dr Christian Grøndahl, who has substantial experience in the pharmaceutical industry and biotechnology sector. Together, we combine strong scientific and engineering backgrounds with business development expertise to build our technology and enhance our commercial potential.

We are proud to have received a number of awards since then, including the main prize at the global IMAGINE IF! final at the Innovation Forum Leaders Conference last December, which serve as an affirmation of our work and vision. With modest seed funding we have gone on to establish in vitro proof-of-concept and pre-alpha prototyping of our device. We are extremely excited to embark on the next phase of development for our technology, which will be well-positioned as research into the role of the microbiome in disease continues to take off, in parallel with the increased commercial activity seen in the profiling and analysis of microbiome data. We are seeking future investment to take us through completion of product development in partnership with the AMRC, and to
establish safety and clinical utility before we bring our BioCapture® technology to market. We envision BioCapture® as the ‘go-to’ device for reliable sampling of the gut microbiome, within both the research and clinical diagnostic markets.

To find out more about us visit http://www.biome-oxford.com/

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