Meet a past winner: Microba
Microba is a Brisbane-based microbial genomics company that is using world-leading technology to give consumers a deeper understanding of their gut health.
The company uses the DNA of bacteria to measure which bacteria are present in the gut and to determine their functional properties. The technology they use – shotgun metagenomics – has changed the industry and is the current world leader in this space.
Microba’s metagenomics technology looks at all of the genes in a stool sample and provides insight into which species are present, what their functional potential is and how diverse a person’s gut bacteria is.
Their ultimate goal is to develop diagnostics and therapeutics based on the gut microbiome to solve unmet clinical needs. This could lead to life-changing assistance for people around the world suffering from gut-related health issues, and innovative solutions for healthcare professionals.
Microba CEO Blake Wills said being based in Brisbane and having the company’s Co-founders leading research teams at two of Brisbane’s best universities provided Microba with a real advantage of home-grown talent.
“Our team knows the city, we have great business, research, healthcare and other connections, and know that we have harnessed the best talent and research from right here in Brisbane,” Mr Wills said.
“The city has a real zest for innovation and we find that not only is innovation acknowledged, it is encouraged by our local, State and Federal representatives.”
Mr Wills said receiving the Queensland Urban Utilities Award for Product Innovation in the 2019 Lord Mayor’s Business Award provided Microba with additional exposure through media coverage surrounding the event, assisted in building the company’s profile within Brisbane and enabled it to make some new connections within the business community.
Since the awards, Microba has entered into partnerships in both the United States and Europe, the latter with the largest pathology provider in Europe. Both of these now see the company’s world-leading analysis powering tests in overseas markets.
At the end of 2019, Microba worked with the NRL Kangaroos and Jillaroos to look at their gut health and performance. Additionally, the company’s Co-founders were listed as Highly Cited Researchers in a major global index and Co-founder Professor Phil Hugenholtz was named as the next Southern Hemisphere Vice President of the International Society for Microbial Ecology.
Mr Wills said Microba had used the COVID-19 period to invest in a deep product innovation cycle, focusing its efforts on optimising existing products and even building new ones.