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Disruption in the Technology Age Seems to Happen in Unexpected Places

How new drug discovery will be impacted by a surrogate microbiome

By Ross Youngs

New York City, New York (March 12, 2019) - The pharmaceutical, agrochemical and cosmetic industries all have similar pathways to discovering new products. Historically, all three sectors have found more new products because of the unique chemistry that microorganisms produce. More than 50% of pharmaceuticals on the shelf today came directly, indirectly or inspirationally from the partial access of the 1% of microbes that could grow in the laboratory setting. Therefore, the other 99% is virtually impossible to explore. However, if accessed and understood, this new chemistry could produce massive opportunities for valuable new products. We refer to the microbiome as the next frontier.

Researchers have struggled with finding the chemistry that was drug-like until the "Golden Age of Pharma" which was the nearly 20-year span with the hunt for new microorganisms that could grow in culture. Those search efforts succeeded at finding a multitude of therapeutic opportunities including fighting infectious disease and cancer. Even today’s pharma companies depend on the small percentage of culturable microorganisms for many new products. The big challenge has been to discover something novel and useful when there was so little material available. According to UCSD Center for Marine Biotechnology and Biomedicine (CMBB) researcher Raphael Reher, Ph.D., “In research, we find a lot of microorganisms in a microbiome, but run out of material.”

Researchers and academia are always challenged to find new ways of doing things and not many efforts are placed on improving things that are working. Financial markets dictate priorities based on how they deploy resources, often to the detriment of a long term outlook. To a certain degree, by valuing new technologies much higher than existing technologies, they usher out what is working for what might work better. Making claims at shareholders meetings gets attention and changes dynamics regardless of merit. An example of a rush to new technology was combinatorial chemistry which was using a massive, sophisticated chemistry kit to make drug-like molecules for therapeutics randomly. Combichem promised to stumble on what works. After 40 years and billions of dollars annually, only one product was approved as a drug. This new technology shifted billions of dollars to a dubious ‘greener grass.’

Even today, the next technologies are failing to deliver on much-heralded promises. For example, remember what was going to be known and solved once the human genome was mapped? Instead, the human genome changes by everyday life and is called the epigenome. The complexity of the epigenome added substantial complexity to understanding the human genome. But wait, it gets better. The human genome, with about 23,000 genes, creates substantial complexity. However, the human microbiome overshadows the human gene pool with approximately 7,000,000 genes. Microbes reside in and on the human and generate a majority of the signaling chemistry in our bodies, impacting all aspects and disease on a level barely understood today. The modern researcher only has genomics to figure this massive complexity which is akin to reading the entire world’s computer language on every device to see one spreadsheet – not going to happen! Genomics is a great tool, but it is not useful for finding the actual cell to cell signaling chemistry by any means.

Surrogate Microbiome to the Rescue!

A pivot has created a massive, disruptive opportunity for Biosortia

The surrogate microbiome is the aquatic environment represented by more than 100,000,000 million genes which have impacted every organism and every microbiome ever in existence. Microbes have imparted genes on all of life, either vertically or horizontally, producing the hidden chemistry that is sought after by researchers to turn on, off, up or down life’s switching mechanisms. Signaling chemistry is the chemistry that researchers are seeking.

Initial research into aquatic microbiome for energy opportunities opened the door to understand how to acquire microbial biomass at a scale and at a quality. This technology was initially supported by ARPA-E, DARPA, USAFRL at approx. $10 million. Biosortia has substantial IP, patents and trade secrets in the area of harvesting and mining the microbiome (9,546,101; 9,095,808; 8,286,801; 8,092,691).

The research and development phase of the harvesting technologies was completed in early 2016. The proving of the technology and creation of an initial proof of concept library was completed in 2018. The proof included an analysis of the surrogate microbiome genomics and chemical make-up, along with the publishing of a peer reviewed paper honored with the ‘Editor’s Choice’ award by The American Chemical Society (https://pubs.acs.org/doi/pdf/10.1021/acs.jnatprod.8b00736 ).

Biosortia created a scaled, thoroughly tested, ready to execute technology proven to obtain the previously sought but hidden, unobtainable drug-like cell to cell signaling chemistry of microbes in a microbiome. The Holy Grail of chemistry contains breakthroughs that will impact humanity for centuries into the future. The ability to "Mine the Microbiome" is attracting renowned research teams throughout the world to work with Biosortia. These new chemical libraries and breakthrough discoveries will create a wide range of licensed patents for therapeutics, agrochemical, cosmetics and other products.

Fantasize a moment: How about finding cures to cancer, malaria, Alzheimer's and others? (see this list https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_incurable_diseases ) How about increasing longevity or discovering a wrinkle cream that can work?

Ross O. Youngs, ryoungs@biosortia.com, Inventor & CEO of Biosortia. I am excited about engaging and showing Biosortia's disruptive breakthrough. Biosortia in currently living "The Innovator’s Dilemma." The technology does not fit long-held beliefs by scientific thought leaders that hidden chemistry would ever be directly accessible. Biosortia is embarking on a world-changing dynamic. Join us today.

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