Harvard's athlete-based next-generation probiotics technology licensed to FitBiomics

Wyss Institute-launched startup company will develop probiotics that have potential to enhance athletic performance

BOSTON, Sept. 5, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Today the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University announced that its athlete microbiome-based technology will be commercialized by Fitbiomics Inc., a recently formed startup company, to develop highly validated probiotics based on elite athletes' microbiomes, which could improve athletic performance and, conceivably, even overall health. The announcement follows an exclusive licensing agreement between Harvard's Office of Technology Development (OTD) and FitBiomics.

The concept behind the new technology — developed by former Wyss Institute postdoctoral fellow Jonathan Scheiman, Ph.D. and Wyss Institute Core Faculty member George Church, Ph.D. in the Institute's Synthetic Biology Platform — holds that elite athletes harbor higher numbers of certain types of bacteria in their gut microbiomes (the commensal microbes populating the intestinal tract) that support or perhaps drive optimal levels of performance and recovery during and after challenging athletic events. Church is also the Robert Winthrop Professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School and Professor of Health Sciences and Technology at Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).