KTN’s Microbiome Innovation Network launches the Microbiome Strategic Roadmap
The Microbiome Strategic Roadmap reviews the landscape of microbiome science and innovation within the UK. With this strategic document, we hope to raise the visibility of the UK’s world leading microbiome science and enable translation of this science to benefit academic institutions, start-ups, SMEs and larger established companies.
In line with the “one health” approach, it spans human, animal and plant sectors with key recommendations on how to advance science translation and business creation. This was a collaborative effort by a group of 74 leading industrial and academic scientists in the UK, with each section of the report written by an expert team.
As this report reveals, the UK has a world-leading position in the science of the microbiome especially as it relates to human health and wellness but also a strong position within the animal and plant-based agriculture sectors, too. Moreover, the UK also has some of the world’s leading pharmaceutical, consumer health and wellness and agri-tech companies, a biotech ecosystem that is one of the most successful in the world, a supportive environment for life sciences and biotech start-ups and scale-ups and a constructive regulatory environment.
“The UK needs to build on its world leading position in the science of the microbiome by taking concrete and timely actions to significantly increase the translation and impact of this science. This report provides clear and actionable recommendations to ensure UK competitiveness in this rapidly emerging field of science and innovation,” says Dr. Andrew Morgan, Chair of the Microbiome Innovation Network Advisory Group.
What does the report cover?
Through this collaborative effort, 12 common themes and priorities have revealed themselves across sectors:
- Foster a “Microbiome Centres of Excellence” approach
- Create Microbiome Research & Innovation Collaboration Networks
- Encourage Microbiome entrepreneurship, seed funding, regulatory and intellectual property rights support
- Ensure support for and access to emerging, enabling technology
- Establish Microbiome research standards
- Develop “Next Generation” bio-banking
- Harness the potential for new and rapid diagnostics
- Invest in Microbiome process development and pilot-scale manufacturing
- Promote a supportive regulatory environment
- Improve Microbiome education, skills, and talent pipeline
- Prioritise support for specific opportunities where the UK has a distinct advantage
- Increase strategic funding for Microbiome Research and Innovation
“Microbiome science holds the promise of providing vital solutions for some of society’s biggest challenges including chronic and infectious human diseases, consumer health and wellbeing, plant and animal agricultural productivity and the ongoing threats of antimicrobial resistance and pandemics,” says Dr. Andrew Morgan.
There are also 12 distinct sections within this report, which summarise the current state of microbiome research, business and growth opportunities within each sector. These are:
- Intestinal Microbiome Transfer
- Live Biotherapeutic Products & other Therapeutic Modalities
- Personal Care & Hygiene
- Nutrition & Wellbeing
- Animal Health & Nutrition
- AgriFood & Nutrition – Crop & Soil Health
- Enabling Technologies
- Intellectual property.
“It has been incredible to see how more than 70 leading academic and industry scientists have stepped up to producing this strategic roadmap report with the shared goal of raising the visibility of the UK’s world leading microbiome science and enabling translation of this science to the benefit of the academic institutions, start-ups, scale-ups, SMEs, larger established companies that operate in the UK, and to society at large,” says Charles Vander Broek, Knowledge Transfer Manager for Agri-Food & Industrial Biotechnology.
About the Microbiome Innovation Network
Launched in 2019, the vision and goal of all Microbiome Innovation Network activities is to enable visibility and accessibility to UK microbiome science, both within the UK and internationally. The huge progress made in this sector in recent years sees opportunities extending from healthcare to agri-tech to personal care. Investment in microbiome start-ups has progressively increased from 2014 and has been driving innovation with a greater focus on ensuring quality and robustness of sequencing data through the entire workflow, from sample collection to data analysis and on functionality; e.g. integrating metagenomic data with targeted and untargeted metabolomics. By building collaborative networks, we aim to see this translated through to marketplace innovations as well as driving an even greater fundamental understanding of how microbes interact with their hosts and thereby unlock the full potential of this rapidly developing field of science. The Microbiome Innovation Network was established to catalyse and capitalise on this latent potential within the UK.