Dhaval Patel, Ph.D.
NemaLife discusses high-throughput tools for accelerating discovery in the biotics industry
Recently at the IPA World Congress + Probiota 2023 event in Barcelona, I had the opportunity to lead a roundtable discussion on high-throughput tools for accelerating discovery in the biotics industry. I was lucky enough to be joined by nine other industry experts for a vibrant conversation over lunch. Here are some of the key takeaways from the roundtable.
The roundtable began with brief introductions from all the participants. We had a mostly scientist-heavy table. However, there was an investment advisor interested in next-generation tools for the biotics industry and two administrators from two university spinout incubators that focus on microbiome-related start-ups.
One of the key themes that emerged during the conversation was that conventional R&D in this industry was too reliant on rodent studies. There was a consensus that this needed to change for practical and ethical reasons. Instead, we discussed alternatives to rodent studies, including nematodes, organoids, AI, and cockroaches!
A primary focus of the discussion was the role of AI in product discovery. While many of the next-generation platforms and tools we discussed use AI to accelerate data analyses, we agreed that wholesale replacement of biological studies by AI-based predictions still had a long road to fruition. AI models need large datasets to train their machine learning algorithms about the relationship between prebiotics, probiotics, and postbiotics and their effect on host physiology. Unfortunately, this type of interaction data isn’t readily available yet. Therefore, I argued that nematodes offer the biotics industry a great way to generate these data.
In conclusion, the roundtable was a fantastic opportunity to connect with other experts and exchange ideas on accelerating product discovery in the biotics industry. I’m grateful to have been part of such a dynamic and informative conversation. I look forward to taking the insights I gained and applying them to future innovations at NemaLife. If you would like more information, please schedule a call with me.