I was asked recently if there was a specific event that made me committed to close the gap between need and availability of a safe way to support the intestinal microbiota. Yes, there was a “Tipping Point” that I can share a few words about, without disclosing patient data.
The photo below shows the place in my NICU where a preterm infant stayed some years back, being well on full feeds and expected to have an easy journey with us. When things went into new and unfortunate directions.
Although difficulties and suffering is part of what we work with, this event made me feel that I did not provide the best care for my patients. I mean, compared to all interventions we make every other day, and the lack of good evidence for many of them, probiotics supplementation was already in 2014 a no-brainer from an EBM perspective. So, I set off to find a suitable product. But became increasingly frustrated. I thought that manufacturing probiotics could not be rocket science but I experienced that no company could provide what I was looking for. Specifically, when it came to documentation around quality.
I discussed this matter with colleagues and realized that I shared my concerns with others. An idea came to my mind that maybe we should just work out a solution ourselves, within the neonatal community. Philipp Novak, a life-science entrepreneur in Austria, was brave enough to get convinced and off we went. Backed by a group of clinicians and researchers.
In 2016 we founded the startup company Neobiomics and initiated our collaboration with Chr.Hansen, world-leading manufacturer of bacterial cultures. And now, after 1000s of work hours (pro bono BTW) and with very limited funds, we have now reached the first goal. With ProPrems® there is now a premium product available, with manufacturing quality as we want it (single-dose-packaging, 2y stability in room temp, tested against an extended panel of contaminants, no risk of antibiotic resistance gene transfer).
What’s next? To speak in symbols, our plane is on the takeoff strip at full throttle while we are still putting the wings together. So times are both hectic and thrilling. But like when standing in front of a very ill infant in the NICU, I feel that this is something we can manage by systematic and hard work. But of course, ProPrems® needs to find the way out to NICUs. Without a costly "old-school" organization of sales rep’s etc, this may seem challenging. But given the collegial feedback so far, we feel confident our project will sustain.
If you get interested to learn more, find more in the attached folder. You can also visit the web sites neobiomics.eu and proprems.eu, or get in touch with me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
But please note that ProPrems® will be only available in Europe (that’s why access to ProPrems.eu is restricted from non-EU countries).