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Combining AI with deeper datasets to develop next-generation probiotics

Article-Combining AI with deeper datasets to develop next-generation probiotics

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Biotech company Seed Health has revealed details of its new AI-powered platform that focuses on the discovery and development of novel probiotics that address metabolic and brain health.

The CODA platform, which also employs machine learning, is designed to further investigate possible connections between the microbiome and health that can be developed into “targeted, outcome-specific interventions”.

Raja Dhir, co-founder and co-CEO of Seed Health, said: “Our CODA platform is tracking the health data of tens of thousands of individuals over decades, offering a comprehensive, multi-omics perspective.

“This allows us to uncover and address critical connections between the microbiome and health, enabling the creation of targeted interventions to improve outcomes across diverse populations.”

Critical to garnering additional insights is the platform’s use of the Human Phenotype Project – a comprehensive multi-omics dataset derived from 13,000 participants that incorporates measurable data layers and environmental influences.

This “deep phenotyping” approach is said to build a “high-resolution” view of the key drivers behind health and disease.

From insight to action to the creation of interventions for better health

“Our development of organ-specific clocks has revealed the microbiome's extraordinary capacity not just to predict but to actively shape health outcomes across key biological systems,” said Professor Eran Segal, from the Weizmann Institute of Science, who currently heads up the project.

“CODA empowers the transition from insight to action, enabling the creation of interventions that target health outcomes across these different organ systems to support lifelong health.”

The Boston-based startup will initially focus on metabolic heath, where CODA's method for microbial gene-based analysis was recently featured in Nature Medicine.

Here, Segal and his research team reported an association between body weight, energy metabolism, and variations in microbial genes.

“Our study highlights two associations related to energy metabolism and host inflammatory state that support leading hypotheses on the microbiome’s impact on host weight, while also identifying genes with unknown function that call for further study and annotation,” the authors of the paper wrote.

Diet proven to modify metabolism through microbiome manipulation

The findings also support another investigation in which the researchers also provided evidence of how diet modifies metabolic parameters through microbiome modulation, highlighting a causal relationship.

“In the future, diets such as the personally tailored postprandial glucose-targeting one in this study, which takes into account microbiome features, could be designed to affect the microbiome and inflict desired metabolic outcomes,” the authors wrote.

“Dietary interventions, as effective as they are, require high motivation and adherence that do not always exist, methods such as probiotics… may also be used for the same purpose.

“Furthermore, probiotics… can be superior to dietary intervention in affecting the microbiome, as they allow the introduction of specific strains with desired capabilities.”

CODA enables the examination of biomarkers with a network of other data points

Seed Health is in the process of translating these groundbreaking discoveries into consumer health products.

Chief scientific officer Dirk Gevers added: “CODA enables the development of next-generation precision probiotics in a uniquely powerful way.

"Rather than relying on a few biomarkers in isolation, CODA empowers us to examine them within a network of hundreds of other biological data points.

“This comprehensive approach allows us to unravel the complex interactions between diet, supplementation, the microbiome, and multi-system human health more effectively than before."

Ara Katz, co-founder and co-CEO of Seed Health, said: "With a deeper and more nuanced understanding of the microbiome's role in human health, we are better positioned to translate these breakthrough research findings into interventions that have a meaningful impact on human health globally.”