The Biocollective Wins $1.2m Fast Track Grant from NIH to Develop Nation’s First Microbiome Reference Standard

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Opens Door to Breakthroughs: Microbiome Research Becomes Comparable, Adoptable, and Repeatable.

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A reference standard will make microbiome samples commercially available, homogenous, and universally adoptable; Validate data from findings; Make findings and data more comparable across platforms and research institutions, to evaluate the accuracy and precision of their analyses.

There’s a new breakthrough to make microbiome research easier: The BioCollective, a comprehensive platform for microbiome discovery, data, samples, strains and collection, today announced it has been awarded a $1.2 million Fast Track Grant from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health (NIGMS/NIH) to develop the first national reference standard for microbiome, using its patent-pending whole stool process and method.

No more Wild West -- Microbiome Research Gains Quality Control

In recent years, the microbiome has gained public attention as an exciting new window to the immune system, even as researchers called it “the Wild West,” with findings that could not be compared or easily repeated. By supporting a reference standard for microbiome research, the NIH is adding quality control and data validation for diagnostics by academic, clinical and pharmaceutical research teams.

“What we are making — and it is novel-- is the production of a whole stool reference standard. A reference standard is a highly characterized, homogeneous and validated reference material. Reference standards enable the measurement of the sensitivity, specificity and accuracy of your assay or workflow,” said Raul Cano, Chief Operating Officer and Science Director for the BioCollective.

“While there are a few reference materials in the market, they are mixtures of bacteria (10-20) and fungi suspended in an aqueous medium. None of these products reflect the complexity of the fecal sample, both in matrix composition and microbial community diversity. Fecal samples are comprised of many chemical components, some of which are inhibitory to the very DNA extraction and processing steps that will impact the accuracy of the results. Mock communities are very simple in microbial composition. Our reference standards contain hundreds if not thousands of species of bacteria -- from actual fecal microbiome samples,” Cano added.

For the academic, medical and pharmaceutical communities, a reference standard will:

  • Make microbiome samples commercially available, homogenous, and universally adoptable;
  • Make findings and data more comparable across platforms and research institutions, to evaluate the accuracy and precision of their analyses;
  • Provide a quality control from the data to validate results and methodology, which is crucial for clinical trials and drug discovery;
  • Provide a standard for clinical analysis by adding a reference standard of known composition; and
  • Provide a standard material to test proficiency, training and evaluation of personnel and skill level.

“When we started the BioCollective, there was no standard method to collect culturable samples in a way that preserved quality and supported comparability and repeatability for high-level scientific research and diagnostics, so we had to build our own -- The BioCollector™ --and it became a standard in the industry for sample collection. We are now showing that leadership once again with the development of TruMatrix™, the only reference standard in the world that contains the matrix and composition of a real human stool and therefore a valid reference material for analyzing microbiome results,” said Martha Carlin, CEO and co-founder of The BioCollective.

“We are honored that the NIH has recognized the BioCollective’s process and method with this grant, and look forward to other scientific bodies being able to further their own research.”

DISCLAIMER: Research reported in this release was supported by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under Grant # 1R44GM134710-01. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the views of the National Institutes of Health.

About The BioCollective

The BioCollective is a comprehensive platform for microbiome discovery, including data, samples, software models, strains and collection. The company’s patented ick-free collection kit makes sample collection easy for users while preserving the whole stool for comparable aliquots; its BioFluxTM software model analyzes strains, samples and data to rapidly prototype functional products in probiotics, food, agriculture and drugs; and its data, strains, and samples bank are recognized internationally, with customers like NIST, Bristol-Meyers Squibb, Cosmos ID, AstraZeneca, Axial Biotherapeutics, Dana Farber Cancer Center, Siolta Therapeutics, Harvard University, and Finch Therapeutics. The company was founded in 2015 and is based in Denver, Colorado. For more information, visit TheBioCollective.com.

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Merredith Branscombe
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