The microbiome is the collection of billions of microorganisms that live in and on the bodies of both humans and animals. These unique communities play a vital role in maintaining health and protecting their host against disease.
Biomedical research in the human microbiome has already led to a pipeline of therapeutic candidates for the treatment of important diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease, obesity, and cancer — all of which pose a similar threat in our growing, aging pet population.
Discovering the importance of a diverse gut microbiome in maintaining good health is forcing us to rethink the way we treat disease in livestock, incorporating the microbiome as a promising way of optimizing performance without antibiotic intervention.
ANIZOME is dedicated to improving animal health by translating cutting-edge research and discovery into innovative therapeutic solutions, capable of optimizing performance and preventing disease.
ANIZOME LLC was founded in 2018 as a result of a ground-breaking venture between Baylor College of Medicine, Stonehaven Incubate AG and Diversigen Inc. This unique combination of microbiome expertise, industry knowledge and commercial experience has enabled ANIZOME to establish a world-class animal microbiome platform that bridges the gap between research and commercial solutions.
Located in the Texas Medical Centre, the world’s largest health science complex, ANIZOME’s experienced team of experts are building on more than a decade of breakthrough discovery in the microbiome to develop next generation solutions for both farm and companion animals.
The power of the microbiome is derived from the unique combination of microorganisms working in harmony to transform host health. Similarly, ANIZOME’s founders have formed an alliance to advance a shared cause, creating a unique ecosystem of expertise capable of revolutionizing the way we treat animal disease.
Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) is a premier health sciences university in the United States. A partner in the Human Microbiome Project, BCM is home to pioneering microbiome science in the Alkek Center for Metagenomics and Microbiome Research, the Department of Molecular Virology and Microbiology and Texas Children’s® Microbiome Center.
Stonehaven Incubate AG is a member of the Stonehaven group of companies. Stonehaven Incubate’s mission is to identify disruptive technologies in human health and work collaboratively with the technology originator to build a strategy for a new stand-alone animal health company, identify an experienced management team and source the capital required.
Diversigen Inc. is a leading human microbiome company providing end-to-end solutions for pharma. These include sequencing, bioinformatics, and complex statistical analyses. Diversigen operates a state-of-the-art CLIA/CAP laboratory deploying a variety of techniques on many sample types for subsequent metagenomics analysis and leverages proprietary cohorts and data sets to enable microbiome therapeutic discoveries.
ANIZOME’s unique microbiome platform is underpinned by innovative technology and expert insight to generate creative breakthroughs in the animal microbiome. The platform consolidates state-of-the-art technologies inside a single, structured research and development process focused on generating commercial solutions.
The microbiome is a complex community of bacteria, fungi, archaea and viruses. Unravelling the functionality and harnessing the power of the microbiome requires a multidisciplinary, end-to-end scientific approach. Our platform incorporates innovative technology that enables us to fully characterize the microbiome, cultivate targets of interest and test them in high-throughput biological models.
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ANIZOME utilizes state-of-the-art DNA sequencing technology to achieve fast, accurate, and complete microbiome analysis utilizing samples obtained from oral, skin, and intestinal microbiomes. Our technology ranges from identification of important microbiome population taxonomy trends using 16s sequencing; to understanding functions, relationships, and importance of individual bacteria within the entire microbiome using next-generation WGS techniques under CLIA/CAP accredited lab conditions.
ANIZOME uses world-class bioinformatics and bioanalytic capabilities to fully characterize microbiome populations, trends, and individual functions to discover novel mechanisms, generate leads, and assess the impact of interventions. ANIZOME is focused on good data science and expert statistical analysis to guarantee accurate results.
ANIZOME can rapidly and efficiently produce a wide variety of microbiome and bacterial probing tools for rapid identification of key bacterial, fungal, or viral species present in the microbiome as well as associated activity mechanisms. This supports discovery and the development of accurate diagnostic tools.
ANIZOME can cultivate complex microbial communities and individual bacteria, including aerobic and anaerobic strains in high-throughput and high replication. This enables us to develop a bank of strains which are important for maintaining proper function or inhibiting disease.
From selection and refinement of therapeutic probiotics to engineering of bacteriophage, ANIZOME can explore various mechanisms for manipulating the microbiome. For example, we can deploy highly specialized and effective technology for the identification, selection, and evolution of bacteriophages against targeted bacterial species in the microbiome. Using this technology results in the rapid discovery and development of microbiome editing tools.
ANIZOME uses various biological models to identify the microbial influence on host health, rapidly test hypothesis and generate proof of concept.
MiniBioReactor Arrays (MBRAs): Cultivating mock intestinal communities for target animals to recapitulate functions they create in the host.
C. elegans: Utilizing nematodes as a simple model organism to identify the genetics of microbial manipulation of host health and metabolites involved.
Germ-free rodents: The optimal standard for testing microbiome-host interactions and pre-clinical performance of microbiome-based products.
Our pipeline is focused on delivering a novel class of therapeutic, derived from health-giving microbes and bacteriophages to manipulate the microbiome and improve host health. Our broad portfolio of research and development programs cover some of the most serious health challenges facing both farm and companion animals.
Dr. Ellie Virtue
Chief Executive Officer
Scientific and commercial professional with experience in building animal health companies from conception through to clinical, product development and commercialization phases.
Dr. Virtue has nearly 15 years’ experience in animal health, which includes monoclonal antibody company, Nexvet Biopharma, where she worked from 2011 until 2017. As the business grew from small start-up to NASDAQ-listed global company, Dr. Virtue’s roles and capabilities evolved across R&D, operations, alliance management and business development.
Dr. Virtue has experience in consulting and providing business services to early-stage human and veterinary companies, covering functions such as operations, commercialisation and project management.
Dr. Virtue holds a Master of Applied Finance from Macquarie University and a PhD from the University of Melbourne for which she studied zoonotic BSL-4 viruses at the Australian Animal Health Laboratory, Australia’s premier high-containment research facility.
Prior to joining Anizome, Dr. Virtue was an Investment Manager at Stonehaven Incubate, one of Anizome’s founding partners, where she helped identify and develop innovative human health technologies that have potential for the animal health market.
Dr. Scott Carter
Chief Scientific Officer
Animal Health and nutrition expert with 20 years’ experience in Research & Development.
Dr. Scott Carter has twenty years’ experience in Animal Health and Nutrition. He earned his PhD from North Carolina State University in Nutrition and Biotechnology with a focus on the production and application of enzymes to livestock diets to enhance utilization of feed. His career has been focused on the application of biotechnology to enhance animal health and performance. He has extensive experience in the application of enzyme, probiotic, and prebiotic technologies to farm and companion animals.
Dr. Carter worked as Director of Nutritional Health R&D and Enzymes Global Marketing at Elanco Animal Health. Prior to this, he held leadership positions in Sales and Marketing at Alltech and Novus International respectively.
Dr. Carter worked as Director of Business Development Baylor College of Medicine before taking up his current position as Chief Scientific Officer and Head of R&D at ANIZOME.
Chief Financial Officer
Financial executive with 20 years’ experience in healthcare and pharmaceuticals.
Ms. Nassif has over 20 years’ experience in financial and executive management in the healthcare, diagnostic testing, and pharmaceutical industries. Her career has included demonstrated ability to maximize return on investment through aggressive working capital and operating expense management. Additionally, she has experience in building and operationalizing start-up corporations. She currently serves as the Chief Operating Officer of Diversigen, Inc. where she leads all aspects of the company’s sales, marketing, and operational efforts. In the years prior to joining Diversigen, Ms. Nassif held leadership positions at Quest Diagnostics as Vice President of Clinical Trials, and Vice President of Anatomic Pathology. During her tenure at Quest Diagnostics, she developed the strategy for the pharmaceutical division, led the transformation of the international clinical trials business from loss making to profit, and launched the first profitable product in cytology for the company. She obtained a Green Belt in Six Sigma Quality.
Ms. Nassif held the positions of Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer of Franklin Heath, Inc. (A Corning Company). She was responsible for all aspects of operations and administration for this start-up healthcare company. Additionally, Ms. Nassif was director of Finance for Covance, Inc. working in its Phase II-III contract research organization. There, she had international responsibilities for pricing, contracts, revenue recognition, and budgeting.
Ms. Nassif graduated summa cum laude from Kean University with a BS in Accounting. She is a Certified Public Accountant. In addition to her corporate positions, she has served on the Board of Advisors for several non-profit groups and organizations.
BCM Partner Relations
Vice President of Research responsible for business and operational aspects of research and commercialization at Baylor College of Medicine.
Shawn R. Davis, VP of Research, is responsible for advancing BCM’s strategic vision for research and commercialization. She oversees the operational and business aspects of the Research Mission, including all commercialization activities. She provides proactive leadership and direction for all aspects of the Research Mission operations and administration, including annual planning, capital and operating budget management, research space management, research technology strategy, philanthropy, and affiliate relationships. She oversees BCM’s strategic relationships with external commercial partners, ensuring an integrated approach to commercialization aligned to institutional vision.
DR. CHUNXU GAO
Animal health and pathology research scientist with expertise in microbiome and diseases.
Dr. Gao has more than 10 years’ experience in microbiology research in academia and industry, including bacterial culture and identification, study design and methodology. He joined the ANIZOME team from Janssen, a division of Johnson and Johnson, where he had been Postdoctoral Research Fellow.
Dr. Gao was awarded a PhD from Baylor College of Medicine with a thesis that focused on the use of probiotics to treat animal diseases – specifically the impact of Lactobacillus reuteri on colonic inflammation and cancer. He has subsequently focused on the application of microbiome studies to enhance animal health and conducted postdoctoral research in immunology and pathology at Baylor College of Medicine and immunopharmacology at Janssen.
Dr. Gao has published several papers and abstracts and acts as a reviewer for a few scientific journals. He also speaks regularly at technical meetings.
At ANIZOME, Dr. Gao uses his experience in microbiology to lead our in-house microbiological culturing and screening programmes.
Dr. Lucia Martini
Animal physiology and ethology research scientist with expertise in metagenomic sequencing.
Dr. Lucia Martini is a research scientist with over 12 years’ experience in the area of translational research and over 5 years as a consultant for the biomedical industry with hands on experience in pre-clinical and clinical trials. Dr. Martini earned her Ph.D. from Comenius University, Slovakia in Animal Physiology and Ethology, a PhD program in conjunction with the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland. Dr. Martini conducted her postdoctoral research at Cornell University focusing on Nutritional Sciences. Lucia is Associate Director of Business Development at Diversigen and manager of metagenomic sequencing services for ANIZOME.
Dr. Adam Kuspa
Senior Vice President and Dean for Research at Baylor College of Medicine with a personal track-record in genomic research.
Adam Kuspa, PhD, SVP & Dean of Research, is responsible for the development and execution of BCM’s strategic vision for research and commercialization. He oversees and allocates institutional resources to support all research centers, departments, and institutes, faculty recruitment, and commercial endeavors. He is responsible for maintaining Baylor’s extensive research support infrastructure including pre-award and compliance functions, a vast animal program, Advanced Technology Cores, Research IT, the Institute for Clinical and Translational Research (ICTR) and laboratory safety. He partners with BCM affiliates toward the advancement of a collaborative research vision. His major focus is to integrate clinical and translational research across BCM, as well as to promote the commercial development of the discoveries that result. Dr. Kuspa’s own federally funded laboratory currently investigates the multifaceted way that eukaryotic cells kill bacteria.
Partner at Stonehaven Consulting AG with executive leadership experience in the Animal Health industry.
Mr. Matthias Hofer is a Partner at Stonehaven Consulting AG. He has over 13 years of experience in Animal Health. He served on the executive committees of two major Animal Health companies for a total of 7 years. Between 2009 and 2013 he led the global Aqua Health business at Novartis Animal Health (NAH). Later, he was Global Leader Emerging Business at Elanco and a member of Elanco’s global executive committee. During 2014 and with Elanco’s intention to buy NAH, Matthias served as overall pre-merger integration leader on the Novartis side. In that role, Matthias led a large team and efforts to prepare integration pre-closing overall including carve-out preparations of operations linked to Novartis. Matthias is a business leader with broad international experience and strength in sales, strategy, and execution.
Dr. Caroline Popper
Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of Diversigen Inc. with 25 years of hands-on life science operating experience.
Caroline Popper MD MPH is the CEO of Diversigen and the President of BCM Technologies, the company creation enterprise of Baylor College of Medicine. Dr. Popper has more than 25 years of hands-on life science operating experience. Originally an internist and pathologist, she combines her medical and scientific perspective with knowledge gained from managing a wide spectrum of life sciences businesses in both Fortune 500 and start-up settings in the US and globally. She maintains a large venture and private equity network, sits on several company boards, and speaks internationally on healthcare innovation and value analysis. Dr. Popper received her medical degree from the University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa) and her M.P.H. from Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore). She completed her residencies in internal medicine and in pathology at Johns Hopkins.
DR. MICHAEL ROSSI
Practising veterinary dermatologist with a special interest in innovative solutions in companion animal dermatology.
Dr. Rossi has a driving passion for finding innovative solutions to therapeutic challenges and has been actively involved in veterinary research. He has a particular interest and expertise in the diagnosis and treatment of skin, coat and nail diseases in animals.
Dr. Rossi obtained his Bachelor of Science degree from Southeastern Louisiana University before completing a master’s degree and becoming a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at Louisiana State University. After several veterinary research projects and internships, he developed his skills in dermatology during a two-year residency with North Carolina State University and while working with the Veterinary Referral Center of Colorado. During this time, he taught veterinary students about clinical and scientific aspects of dermatology.
Dr. Rossi is board certified by the American College of Veterinary Dermatology (ACVD) and currently works for a veterinary specialty clinic based in Houston. As well as small animals, Dr. Rossi enjoys working with horses and zoo animals.
DR. JOSEPH PETROSINO
A primary investigator for the Human Microbiome Project and author of numerous published studies on microbiome science.
Dr. Petrosino has been actively driving a better understanding of human and animal microbiomes since the introduction of Next Generation Sequencing technologies for the purpose of microbiome studies. He has been involved in key research projects and made a number of ground-breaking advances in our understanding of microbiomes.
Dr. Petrosino was awarded a degree in microbiology and immunology with a distinction in research from the University of Rochester, before completing a PhD in the same subjects at Baylor College of Medicine. He continued at Baylor where he completed a postdoctoral fellowship in genetics, and then worked as a research associate in the Human Genome Sequencing Centre.
As a principal investigator for the Human Microbiome Project, he helped develop standardised clinical sample preparation protocols for sequencing and analysis. This allowed microbial communities from diverse body sites to be compared with minimal technical bias and has led to study design standards that are being implemented internationally.
Dr. Petrosino is currently Professor and interim Chairman of Molecular Virology and Microbiology at Baylor College of Medicine and Director of the Alkek Centre for Metagenomics and Microbiome Research. The Centre is involved in more than 400 metagenomics projects in humans which aim to improve human health through a better understanding of microbiomes and the development of new diagnostics and therapeutics. Dr. Petrosino is a popular speaker at national and international meetings and was named Distinguished Lecturer for 2012-2014 by the American Society for Microbiology.
We are also interested in working together with other successful microbiome companies that have discovery or proprietary assets with potential in animal health.
If you would like to discuss partnering opportunities, contact us.
ANIZOME is working with academic researchers and institutes to generate samples from controlled disease cohorts and explore the role of the microbiome. We are always looking to collaborate and recruit innovation to our platform to help bridge the gap between research and commercialization.
If you are interested in collaborating, please contact us.
10th September, 2019
ANIZOME®, a company dedicated to the commercial application of microbiome science in animal health, has appointed Dr. Ellie Virtue as its CEO.
1st November, 2018
ANIZOME™ has appointed a primary investigator from the Human Microbiome Project and an expert in veterinary dermatology as members of its scientific advisory panel.
20th - 21st June, 2018
ANIZOME™ are pleased to partner with Kisaco and will be presenting at the event. Attendees are invited to meet the team at the ANIZOME™ stand.
23rd May, 2018
ANIZOME™, the first company to offer a commercial therapeutic microbiome discovery platform dedicated to animal health and nutrition, is launched today.