VastBiome is an engineering-first drug discovery company prospecting novel molecules from the human gut microbiome and developing them into standalone therapeutics starting with immuno-oncology. Our vision is to move from identification and annotation of organisms, genes and metabolites to design whereby we can draw on these relationships to construct immunoregulatory drugs with specified function through synthetic gene expression composed from known biosynthetic units.
VastBiome's Discovery Engine is a computational platform that identifies key genetic clusters of bacterial DNA, an in-vitro assessment of immunoregulatory function, and structural characterization of their molecular products.
Specific Innovations of our proposed approach include:
1. Computational identification of gene clusters at scale with an integrated learning capability for continuously improving gene cluster selection.
2. High-throughput probe-based interrogation of gene clusters for immunoregulatory potential providing annotations for improvement of the gene cluster selection algorithm as well as candidate gene clusters for further development as therapeutic leads.
3. Structural characterization and recombinant engineering resulting in the identification of potential therapeutic natural product compounds as well as the provision of a synthetic host capable of producing them.
4. Substantiation of this approach with the largest and most detailed multi-omic data set created for the assessment of the microbiome-host immune axis in the setting of ICI therapy.