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Farmington, Connecticut – Today, General Biomics, Inc. and Women & Infants Hospital announced a collaborative agreement to study the role of the human microbiome in diseases found in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs). The study will be co-managed by Dr. George Weinstock, EVP & CSO of General Biomics, and Dr. Jill Maron, Pediatrician-in-Chief at WIHRI and the William and Mary A. Oh/Anna Elsa Zopfi Professorship in Pediatrics for Perinatal Research, Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. Under the terms of the agreement, WIHRI will collect samples from NICU patients, which will be transferred to General Biomics for analysis, and develop novel tests to predict major maladies affecting neonates. General Biomics will fund the effort at WIHRI and obtain commercial rights to the output of the study.
General Biomics, located in the University of Connecticut Technology Incubator Program in Farmington, was founded in 2020 by Dr. Weinstock and Dr. Yanjiao Zhou, assistant professor at UConn Health researching human disease relations to the microbiome. The company’s vision is to deliver multi-omic solutions to human health with information from the microbiome. “The microbiome is a crucial key in our understanding of human disease. Our work showed many ties between the microbiome and disease,” said Weinstock. “General Biomics is pleased to be able to collaborate with Dr. Maron and WIHRI. This joint project is an outstanding opportunity to move this toward clinical application, enabling us to develop novel, patentable tests, which will greatly reduce the costs of hospitalization and dramatically reduce the mortality and morbidity in these patients.”
The General Biomics test will address medical disorders that affect newborns and young infants, especially premature infants who require hospitalization. Drs. Weinstock and Zhou have found considerable evidence about the gut microbiome’s important role in the development of important NICU-related diseases. Dr. Maron’s research is complementary to Drs. Weinstock and Zhou’s work, having focused on the host’s response to these diseases. “The Women & Infants’ NICU is thrilled to partner with General Biomics on this important area of research,” said Dr. Maron. Adding, “This partnership is a continuation of a productive collaboration that I have had with Dr. Weinstock and his team exploring the role of the microbiome in neonatal health and disease. It is extremely exciting to continue this research to develop improved diagnostic approaches for the vulnerable neonatal population.”
In his world-class research, Dr. Weinstock has investigated the human microbiome in a wide variety of contexts, including how it contributes to human conditions and diseases such as aging, asthma, the immune response, cancer, substance use disorders, metabolic syndromes, and much more. Prior to joining General Biomics at the start of the year, Dr. Weinstock was the director of microbial genomics and professor and Evnin Family Chair at The Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine. Before JAX, he served as associate director of The Genome Institute at Washington University in St. Louis, where he led the NIH effort to sequence the Human Microbiome. Previously, Dr. Weinstock was co-director of the Human Genome Sequencing Center (HGSC) at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, and professor of molecular and human genetics.
Dr. Jill Maron, who is the Pediatrician-in-Chief at Women & Infants Hospital, and a Professor of Pediatrics at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University has, for the past sixteen years, been researching integrating innovative diagnostic platforms into newborn care. Specifically, she has explored salivary protein and gene expression in premature newborns to better understand development and infection risk in this vulnerable population. She also oversees a national multi-site trial for the integration of rapid genomic sequencing for critically ill neonates. She is a member of the American Pediatric Society, the Pediatric Research Society, and the Perinatal Research Society. Dr. Maron is also the Co-Editor-in-Chief of Clinical Therapeutics, an international peer-reviewed journal that publishes emerging therapies and diagnostics across the field of medicine. Dr. Maron is the current Chair of the Pregnancy & Neonatology Study Section of NIH and has been funded by NIH for her research since 2009.
General Biomics received seed financing in January 2022, which has been used to begin its scientific operations and create its business strategy. Steve Lombardi, a genomics industry leader with over forty years of experience, is the Company’s executive chairman and leads its business efforts and fundraising activities.
General Biomics has obtained intellectual property rights in other areas of health and disease that are impacted by the human microbiome. The company previously announced an agreement with The Jackson Labs to gain access to Dr. Weinstock’s vast medical research materials developed while at JAX.
About General Biomics
General Biomics Inc. is an early-stage, privately funded company whose headquarters are in Farmington, Connecticut in the UConn Technology Incubator Program. Its mission is to improve human health through the knowledge of the human microbiome. Passionate about innovation, the company is committed to improving health outcomes through cutting-edge biotechnology solutions focused on the microbiome. Critical to its success is its culture of scientific collaboration and innovation. The company has deep roots in advanced technologies like metagenomics, next-gen DNA sequencing, culturomics, AI/ML bioinformatics, and metabolomics. This integrated platform of technologies aims to revolutionize the diagnosis and treatment of disease. For more information, please contact Steve Lombardi at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Women & Infants Hospital
Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island, a Care New England hospital, is one of the nation’s leading specialty hospitals for women and newborns. A major teaching affiliate of The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University for obstetrics, gynecology, and newborn pediatrics, as well as a number of specialized programs in women’s medicine, Women & Infants is the ninth largest stand-alone obstetrical service in the country and the largest in New England with approximately 8,700 deliveries per year. Women & Infants is a Designated Baby-Friendly® USA hospital, a U.S. News & World Report 2014-15 Best Children’s Hospital in Neonatology, and a 2014 Leapfrog Top Hospital. The Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology ranked number 11 in U.S. News & World Report’s 2019 Best Medical Schools specialty ranking.
Women & Infants has been designated as a Breast Imaging Center of Excellence by the American College of Radiography; a Center of Excellence in Minimally Invasive Gynecology; Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence in Perinatal Biology and in Reproductive Health by the National Institutes of Health (NIH); and a Neonatal Resource Services Center of Excellence. It is one of the largest and most prestigious research facilities in high-risk and normal obstetrics, gynecology, and newborn pediatrics in the nation, and is a member of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) Maternal-Fetal Medicine Units Network, Neonatal Research Network, and Pelvic Floors Disorders Network, as well as the National Cancer Institute’s Gynecologic Oncology Group.
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